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Modern technology has made things infinitely more convenient, for the most part, but it has created some challenges as well. Where once you had to respond to an ad in the paper if you wanted to meet someone, you can now swipe through dozens of options on your smartphone in a matter of minutes.

Every dating app or website is different, but the dangers and challenges of online dating are the same across the board. Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself.

Safety Tips to Follow for Online Dating

Meeting new people can be exciting, but you need to protect yourself as well. Here are some simple safety tips to follow when you enter the world of online dating:

  • Google yourself to see what personal information is already out there. When you join a dating app, you can usually choose how you want to present your name but realize that giving someone your name means they can find additional info online. Check it out first to see what’s out there.

  • Keep your last name private for the first date. As wonderful as someone might seem online, an in-person date could be different. Wait until you know whether you want to see someone again to give them your last name just as an extra precaution.

  • Sign up for Google voice. Many dating apps use your phone number to identify your account, but that number isn’t necessarily visible to other users. If you want to give a date your number, sign up for a free Google Voice number to keep your real number private.

  • Keep your employment information private. One of the first questions anyone asks is what you do for work. Sharing this information is a great way to get to know someone, but take the precaution of sharing only your job description and not the company you work for.

  • Meet in a public place the first time. For the first date, it is important to meet in a public place. You can never be sure that the person you think you are meeting is actually who they say they are, so protect yourself with this simple precaution.

  • Drive yourself to and from the date or take public transportation. Your parents warned you early in life never to get into a car with a stranger and that still holds true! If you don’t want to drive yourself, have a friend drop you off or take public transportation.

  • Make sure someone knows where you are. It may seem overcautious, but if you’re meeting up with a stranger it doesn’t hurt to tell a friend where you’ll be meeting them and when. You can even tell your friend when you expect the date to be over so they can call you if they don’t hear from you.
Though it is important to protect yourself with online dating, you also need to be open to the possibilities that await you. Many people are skeptical about online dating but if you don’t give it a real chance, it will never work. Be optimistic and the world will open up around you!

~VS Glen, Community Support
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