As exciting as online dating is, personal safety is something that you need to consider first and foremost. The anonymity of online dating is one of its biggest advantages as well as one of its biggest disadvantages. Until you actually meet someone in real life and spend some time with them, you don’t know just who you’re talking to. Unless you’re cautious, this could lead to very real danger – and there are chat rooms and other sites that have had to shut their virtual doors because of this.
Even so, online dating services can be both fun and safe, as long as you keep safety in mind at all times and follow some simple, common sense rules. If you have to sacrifice a little bit of excitement in the name of safety, that’s perfectly OK. People will appreciate the fact that your conscious of your personal safety, since it’s something that’s no doubt on their minds as well and makes online dating as a whole a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone.
This isn’t a complete list of safety rules, but it’s a good start:
Never give out any personal information such as your address or home phone number.
If someone wants to talk to you on the phone, get their number rather than giving out yours (and call them from a cell phone or ask your phone company to block people from seeing your number when you call them).
Be skeptical. Don’t accept anything people tell you at face value.
Don’t meet anyone alone or in private. If you can meet as part of a group of people, that’s safest. If that’s not an option, meet somewhere public like a coffee shop or restaurant and let a friend know where you’re going.
Attend organized, monitored events for singles nearby, especially those that are put on by reputable dating services.
You’ll most likely be a little nervous when meeting someone new for the first time – don’t use alcohol to calm your jitters. You need to keep your judgment intact and your wits about you until you know them better.
Remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with.
As long as you use common sense, you shouldn’t run into any trouble. The larger, more reputable dating services like Matchfinder strive to give their members a safe environment to meet new people. After joining a service, you’ll probably be given further information on staying safe; please read it carefully and of course, have fun with online dating!