Online dating is one of the best ways to enjoy diversity. There are multicultural websites, platforms dedicated to the needs of LGBTQ community members and other specialized dating apps that will address just about every need and preference under the sun.

Most couples in Western countries already come together through online dating apps rather than through family or mutual acquaintances. According to sociologists, this trend is increasing the scope of possibilities and making people much more likely to get out of their comfort zone. Due to online dating, the number of multi-racial couples has gone up and so has the number of couples from different religious, social or even educational backgrounds.

While all of this is a wonderful thing, safety should still be kept a top priority.

Online dating is beneficial and fun. Exercising a bit of common sense, however, is still important to have an exciting and safe experience.

Safe Online Dating

Know What You’re Looking for and Search in the Right Place

As already mentioned, the number of dating apps has increased exponentially over the past decade. There are specialized platforms that help people with similar beliefs and backgrounds come together.

If you want something specific, you should look for it in the right place.

While the world has moved forward, there are still risks for minority groups who decide to opt for online dating.

Reports suggest that over 20 percent of hate crimes in the US are motivated by sexual orientation. Needless to say, race is still the biggest contributor to such criminal activities, leading to over 48 percent of those.

LGBTQ dating apps and platforms meeting the needs of specific ethnic/religious groups can help individuals overcome some of the risks associated with old-school dating out in the real world. If you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can easily pinpoint the specialized app that will give you the desired experience or connection.

Don’t Rush into Meeting Someone

Online dating allows you to get to know someone at your own pace.

It starts with messaging and you can eventually move on to talking over the phone. This communication buildup reveals important details in a safe and familiar environment.

Don’t rush to meet someone right from the start and trust your gut feeling.

If you feel that something’s not right or that you’re not ready, postpone the encounter or discontinue the communication altogether.

It’s also crucial to meet in a public, safe spot for the very first time. Bringing someone to your home for that very first date isn’t a safe move, even if you feel that you know them really well. Exercise caution and you can easily get more intimate if the person is exactly who they say they are.

Opt for a Virtual Date Instead

Does an actual date in the real world seem like too much pressure?

You can opt for a virtual date instead. Chances are that both of you have phones with front-facing cameras. Use the technology to “meet” each other and have a personal experience that’s reminiscent of actually meeting in a restaurant or a bar.

Video chatting is actually an absolute essential before you go out with your online date.

Catfishing is a very common problem and people will often misrepresent themselves or steal somebody else’s identity to become more appealing in the online realm. Unless you video chat with someone, you cannot be certain that you’re actually talking to the person whose pictures you’re seeing.

Catfishing itself isn’t a criminal activity but sooner or later, a person who assumes somebody else’s identity will commit a criminal or fraudulent act. The toll of catfishing on the victim is also huge. Of all victims, 20 percent have sent money to a catfish and a large percentage also sent sexually explicit photos. Of the victims, 25 percent report feeling humiliated, 13 percent describe themselves as being heartbroken, 13 percent experienced serious emotional distress and nine percent were actually diagnosed with a mental health problem in the aftermath.

Do yourself a favor and opt for video chat at first. if the person is legitimate and trustworthy, you can move the relationship to the offline realm.

A little bit of common sense can prevent heartache and more serious consequences.

Online dating safety starts with a bit of common sense, a bit of personal responsibility and the selection of the right platform to join.

Many apps and dating sites have blocking, reporting, extensive sign up processes safety guidelines and controlled visibility. Look at these features before joining a community and giving out some of your personal information.

Once you’ve chosen the right platform, it will be up to you to remain careful, to refrain from providing tons of details and to be selective about your communication. Obviously, you should be having fun but a bit of caution can also go a long way.

This is a contributed post



Claire Kirby

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