A recent news story sent chills down my spine. The news read like ‘A Girl came to Delhi to meet the lover she found on Facebook, he locked her up in a hotel room and tried to sell her’. In the age of digital technologies and smartphones, the ways of seeking out and establishing romantic relationships have transformed. But the definitions and dark side of cheating remains the same. The Delhi youth had pre-planned the kidnapping and wanted to sell the girl to traffickers. Police is investigating whether she was sexually assaulted or not. He had promised to marry her, following which the girl left for Delhi without informing members of her family. Once the girl came to the city and came to know about the true side of the guy, she refused to stay with him but she was beaten up. A large chunk of people have started using online dating sites and mobile dating apps and liking it too. But the virtual anonymity and risk of falling prey to such cruel disguise raises concern for women safety.
Sometimes just a ‘hey’ can change your life. Whether it will be for good or bad, you can have the authority to that. Online dating is getting increasingly popular day by day and as people more and more have started using it poses a question that how safe are these dating platforms? The newspapers daily are being filled with horrifying online dating stories and sadly this is gradually happening because women aren’t aware about some crucial safety tips they need to follow before establishing romantic relationships online.
Be Choosy about the dating site
The best is to choose mainstream dating sites that are popular and are possessed by big renowned companies. Reason for making this choice is if in case you have to lodge a complaint against the site, you know where to go. Since, dating sites are open for anybody and everybody, make sure that you register where the site provides you with maximum protection of your personal information. Well! This doesn’t guarantee you safety from non-trustworthy people but at least is a major relief to keep your information safe.
Do not disclose all your information
Your profile is viewed by a ton of different people on dating sites, hence; make sure that you don’t give away enough details so that an individual can trace you. A few examples are your last name, your address, your phone number etc. Providing these information will let a person identify you and your whereabouts very easily. When you start talking to someone, don’t just exchange phone numbers quickly. A smarter way would be to get a Google Phone number and share it first.
Watch out for signs that reveal ‘Don’t Trust’
There are a lot of desperate people on the internet that you surely don’t want to be friends with. You can identify certain signs they give you. If the person is pushing you to meet at a specified place or to share your contact details and is being extremely sweet to you in such a manner that he is too good to be true, then these are signs that the person is not someone you can bestow your trust upon.
Play the Detective
You might think that this is going a bit overboard but it is always good to ensure your safety than feel sorry in the end. You must do some research to check if the person’s identity is true or fake. You can always check if the person is using Google images in his profile and is actually someone other than him. There are plenty of websites that help you verify a person’s name, address and phone number which you can always use by paying a small fee before meeting that person. But don’t make a mistake of revealing about this quick search to your date as it can make things awkward.
Use the safety features
These sites avail you with a lot safety tools. For instance, if you think someone is sending you vulgar texts messages and trying to mislead you, then you can surely report the account. Such aggressive and unfitting users shouldn’t be dealt with politely as they are potential stalkers.
Fix your meetings in public places
Public places are best for first time meetings because if you are in a troubled situation, there will be people around to help you. Reach the place by yourself. Opt for metro or get your own cab but don’t let him pick you up. For the beginning dates, stick to places like coffee shops and movie theaters. Don’t make plans going to someone’s house as no matter how comfortable you are with the person through calls and texts, it is always better to give safety topmost priority. If you are planning to get a drink then make sure that you don’t overdo. If you are going to drive back home, then prefer having only one or two drinks. Also, while at the bar, make sure that you don’t leave your drink unattended.
Don’t get attached
It is true that with the flow of talks, you are likely to get attached to a person. Exchanging of details about how your day looked like and being in touch for longer durations can bring you closer to a person. But do not forget that reality is way different from what perceptions are formed through dating sites. Sometimes a person’s profile can be really captivating but don’t get attached based on a profile. Profiles can be deceiving and constructing fantasies grounded on that isn’t really a good idea.
Make your friends aware about your plans
When you finally decide to go on a date with the person, make sure that you share all necessary details with at least a friend of yours so that if just in case anything happens, you can be traced. These days there are a lot of apps that track your route and at the same time keep informing your loved ones about your whereabouts. So install one of such apps and keep your friends on loop.
These are 8 quick and simple steps to make your online dating experience safe and secure. You must follow these steps if you prefer finding dates online. Even if you don’t use it, share these tips with your girlfriends so that their experience doesn’t transform into another online horror dating story.
Ashwathi is an enthusiastic traveller and dancer with a passion for movies and music. Hailing from an Army background, she considers herself fortunate enough to have experienced the diverse cultures that India boasts of. She is a graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications and has worked in print, radio and television.