Dating apps, and online dating as a whole, have become an almost natural part of our contemporary way of life. The line between online dating or meeting people through dating apps versus “real-life” dating has become increasingly blurred over the last few years, to the point that the use of dating apps is dating for many – just like any other traditional forms of dating.
That being said, the digital aspect of dating, as with traditional dating methods, needs to be navigated in its own, unique way. After all, dating requires you to allow yourself to become vulnerable, to some degree. If you’re looking to make real connections, you’ve got to be real with yourself and to your potential date, after all. Unfortunately, we live in a world where not everyone has the best intentions, so it’s a good idea (and in your best interests) to learn to protect yourself and your privacy on dating apps and with online dating in general.
Research – Choosing the Right Platform
There’s a plethora of dating apps and sites out there and many fish in the digital sea. Let’s face it, though – some dating apps are just better than others. There’s a reason that apps like Tinder have become synonymous with the idea of online dating today. Apps like this have proven to be the choice dating app for many users, but this is not something to be taken for granted.
Part of choosing the right app, or site, requires considering the sign-up process that you have to go through on the app. If a few clicks allows you access and use of the site, then you might want to think again about finding your soulmate here. Making it easy for fake profiles to be created, a sign-up process that’s too simple or too short attracts those who are looking to use the app for more nefarious purposes. This isn’t always the case, of course, but you’ll be more secure taking the time to fill out a more detailed personal profile on a dating site that requires a longer sign-up process with further authentication steps to verify you and your account.
Don’t Give Away Too Much Personal Info
At the same time, make sure not to give away too much personal info that’s accessible to anyone who looks at your online dating portfolio. There’s no need for anyone who’s interested in you to immediately have access information like your personal mobile number, home and work address, your location at any given time, or any other sensitive details about yourself. No one wants a stalker. If the dating site, or app, requires these, make sure there’s a setting that allows details like your mobile number to be hidden from other users. Data breaches do and have occurred on dating apps – no digital platform can promise to be 100% safe today, so it’s best to use your common sense and stay on your toes. It’s best to start texting on the app’s chat platform until you’re more confident about the individual on the other end to move it to the next level.
Don’t Fall Prey to Catfish
Trust your instincts. If alarm bells are going off in your head because it just doesn’t feel right when the person on the other end wants your mobile number or wants to meet for a drink or take you out for a meal, it’s probably best to trust yourself. On the other hand, it’s being overly paranoid is not going to get you anywhere, either. You’ve got to stay on the right end of the cautious-paranoia spectrum.
So, let’s say that you’ve moved off the dating app – you’re calling each other and maybe getting a bit flirtier over video calls. First off, well done to the both of you for finding that spark! Second, if they refused your request for a video call, they might have been hiding something. Still, you want to be careful so don’t let your guard down and keep your wits about you. Sometimes, things may seem a little too good, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re safe, your privacy isn’t at stake, and the person on the other end is really who they say they are.
This isn’t as difficult to do as it sounds and it doesn’t require spy-grade know-how, either. Nuwber is a fantastic service to use, especially when moving forward with someone you’ve met online. No one wants to be catfished – it can cost you your dignity, privacy, money, and in some cases, a lot more. Nuwber can help you make sure of the authenticity of the person you’re meeting. Are they really who they say they are and do they really live at the address that they’ve given you? Nuwber can access publicly-available information on your potential date and provide you peace of mind and an increased sense of security.
Moving From App to IRL
These are important precautions to take on the digital side of your dating experience. So, keep your online profile safe in the digital world, prevent catfish situations, and never give out your financial information. When you’re confident enough about this relationship and you’re making those plans to meet IRL, make sure to keep yourself protected when the digital relationships moves into the real world.
Meet at a neutral spot or establishment that isn’t too quiet nor overly busy. Make sure that there are people around when you’re meeting your date in-person for the very first time.
Call them up before you’re about to meet. Listen up for any verbal clues over the phone that might raise a red flag or two.
Get to the spot yourself. Letting them pick you up from your place before having met them could be recipe for disaster. Use your own transportation to get to the place where the sparks will fly between you two, hopefully! However, dates can go badly, and if they do, you don’t want your ride home to be an awkward one, at the least.
Let your friends or family know. Have someone check in with you, or arrange to check in with them from time to time about how the date’s going. It’s just a good safety measure to have a best friend, or your mom, know your whereabouts when you’re meeting someone for the first time.
Taking digital dating to the real world is exciting and has its perks, but as with everything, use common sense. Your individual security and privacy is important, so keep ahead of the game and think these safety considerations from the point of choosing which dating app to sign up with.