The growth in internet access across the country is making a big difference to how we date. Over the past decade, internet access in the UK for 18-64 year-olds has more than doubled – smartphone usage is on the increase too. It’s no surprise therefore, that the number of relationships formed online is steadily increasing. eHarmony predict that by the year 2040, 70% of relationships will be able to attribute their coming-together to either online dating or online communication.
Although online dating is making it easier than ever before to find new potential dates, it’s also important to ensure that you stay safe when dating online. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on your online dating adventures.
1. Protect yourself.
Check your privacy settings on your social media accounts and be careful not to divulge too much personal information before you truly know someone. I would advise against giving your full name or address to someone that you’ve only met online. If you can, you should also keep your social media profiles unlinked from your dating profiles.
Don’t be afraid to Google someone you’ve just met online to check that they are who they say they are. If you met on Facebook or they’re sent you pictures, use Google’s “search by image” feature to check for multiple Facebook profiles using the same photo. If they talk about their job or where they work, you might be able to check the information via LinkedIn or via a company website.
3. Before you meet up.
It’s easy to lie when a relationship is strictly online. If the person you meet online is hesitant to meet in person or makes excuses as to why they can’t Skype with you or send pictures then you shouldn’t trust them. Be cautious before agreeing to meet up with them,
4. When you meet up.
Once you feel fairly confident that they are who they say they are arrange to meet your date in a public place. If your date offers to pick you up before your date politely decline; not only will they know where you live, buy you will literally be in a car with a stranger. Tell your friends when and where you’re meeting your new potential lover and give them some details about what they look like and how you’ve been contacting them.
5. Trust your instincts.
Never ignore feelings of discomfort. You shouldn’t need to talk yourself into investing your time and effort into someone. Beware of premature declarations of love or requests for sexy photos from your online crush, if they’re making you feel uncomfortable listen to those feelings!
More Dating Advice
While the number of people looking for love is on the up, the number of people looking to take advantage of this is also on the rise. If you’ve been a victim of a dating scam, you can report it to the police through Action Fraud.