Online Dating Safety

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on online dating safety.

A Dozen Steps to Safer Online Dating

No system of dating is totally safe, including online relationship sites. Here are some things to think about.

1. Do not include identifying information in your profile, including information about your children or immediate family. Do not discuss your children with anyone until you have met and feel comfortable with your date.

2. When you're emailing or chatting, do not give out your real name, address, place of employment, phone number, or mobile number until you have met and have a good feeling about your date.

3. Ideally, use the email of an on-line service to establish contact, instead of giving out a personal email address.

Virtual first date

4. Use the service's chat rooms (including videochat) for your first date. It's important to get a good feeling before meeting someone in person in the offline world. An online virtual date allows you to see a face, hear a voice and get to know your date’s personality before you take that offline step.

5. Request your date’s picture before you agree to meet in the chatrooms or in person. A picture serves as a means of identification. If the picture does not reflect your date's actual appearance notify the dating service.

6. When you meet in the chatrooms, verify your date's profile information and verify key details from email exchanges. During and after your virtual date, ask yourself these questions:

If you answered yes to any of these questions you would want to consider any additional meetings very carefully before you agree to them.

Meeting offline

7. Agree on a well-lit public place like a coffee shop or a restaurant for a first meeting. Agree on a length of time for your meeting. Make your first meeting during daylight hours.

8. Wear conservative clothing to your first meeting. Avoid suggestive language and jokes. Avoid alcohol or anything that could impair your judgment.

9. When you go out, always carry your mobile phone, coins for a pay phone and taxi money. Tell someone where you're going, the screen name of the member you’re going to meet, your mobile number and your estimated time of return. Invite a friend to go with you to the meeting place, and ask your friend to watch you from across the room.

10. Use the date to further verify information you’ve been given. At the end of your first meeting, you can decide whether to exchange names and phone numbers with your date. Even if the date is going well, do not extend it beyond the allotted time.

11. If you feel uncomfortable, stop the date and leave by taxi or leave with the friend who is watching you from across the room .Do not leave in your own car. Ask an employee of the location to walk you to the taxi.

12. Avoid further communication with your date. If information your date provided was untrue or if your date contacts you inappropriately, immediately inform the dating service.

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