Safe dating in the digital age

Malea Lamb-Hall 9 Feb 2023

This Valentine's Day, keep your online dating life fun and romantic by following these safety tips.

With Valentine’s Day looming on the calendar like a pulsing red heart, the online dating world is sure to experience a flutter of activity. But it’s not just lonely hearts who are flocking to the dating sites – unfortunately, predators and scammers are also in the crowd, hoping to take advantage of these modern digital courtships. You can kiss these threats goodbye, however, by following a few simple guidelines on your road to romance. 

1. Set privacy settings to max – on all platforms.

Before you put yourself out there, make sure the privacy settings across all your social media accounts allow people to see only what you want them to see. Keep your hometown, your employer, your photos, and any other info that could help a stranger track you down set to private. 

2. Avoid specifics in your profile.

As you imagine your future true love reading your profile, it can be tempting to share some personal details. But think of it as though you are broadcasting your profile in a crowded bar full of strangers – how much would you want them all to know about you? Save the more intimate information for one-on-one in-person conversations.

3. A picture is worth a thousand personal details.

Photos can reveal more than you might think, so choose carefully what you show. Be aware and censor yourself from giving away your favorite hangout spots, your neighborhood, the faces of friends and family, and other identifiable information.

4. Keep your chitchat in check.

Even when you’ve separated the real candidates from the chaff and started direct messaging someone, remember that you can never be totally sure who is behind an online profile. Avoid giving out your email address, phone number, or specific details about your life.

Seemingly innocent conversation – such as the city where your parents met, your mother’s maiden name, or the name of your pet – can be used to answer security questions and hack your accounts. Do not add potential dates as friends on social media until you’ve met them in person, and never download any attachment or click any link they may send you.

5. Plan a public first date.

For your own safety, plan to meet in a public place where you feel comfortable. Also, tell a friend or family member what you’re doing, and consider sharing your live location via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger so they can keep an eye on your whereabouts until the date is over. 

6. Listen to your gut.

As always, if anything makes you uncomfortable throughout the course of your date, shut it down and excuse yourself. 

Everyone deserves love and romance, and the right match is out there for you. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe so you can better focus on the fun, the laughter, the butterflies, and the beginnings. Happy Valentine’s Day!

--> -->