Dating in the modern age has transformed regarding the way in which people are meeting their partners. While meeting potential romantic partners through mutual friends ranks as the number one form of matchmaking, online dating has grown significantly in popularity to earn the number 2 spot, according to a recent study. Additionally, recent research reported about 60% of U.S. adults find online dating to be a good way to meet potential romantic partners. One possible reason for the rise in popularity can be attributed to longer work hours resulting in less time to socialize and meet people. Additionally, people covet their time and want to make the most out of the limited free time they have. Online dating allows seeking individuals to consolidate their time by offering individuals the chance to get to know someone through an online platform, helping them weed out potential matches.

While online dating can prove to be quite beneficial in finding romantic partners, there are potential risks to online dating. It is important to practice safe dating, whether it is online or face-to-face. There are specific ways to ensure a safe dating experience. Some safe dating practices for online dating include:

  1. Protect your privacy: Limit the amount of identifying information you give out until you have met the person and never give money to anyone you are communicating with online, as there are a number of people who create fake profiles on online dating sites in an effort to scam users for money.
  2. Protect yourself from Catfish: A catfish is someone who uses online social platforms to create profiles that portray a false identity. To verify you are in fact talking to the person you are communicating with online, it can be helpful to use applications such as Snapchat and Skype to verify one’s identity before meeting in person.
  3. Before meeting up in person, tell someone you trust: Tell a friend about your date. Include details such as the person’s name, where the date will take place, and how long you plan to be on the date. Make sure to meet at a public place and provide your own transportation to and from your first date.
  4. Set limits: Whether that means setting a time limit or a beverage limit, be in control of your date. The more one drinks and the longer one stays out the more their judgment may be compromised.

Happy safe dating!

Author: Mary Schufreider, MS, AMFT

 

  1. Finkel, E. J., Eastwick, P.W., Karney, B. R., Reis, R. T., & Sprecher, S. (2012). Online dating: A critical analysis from the perspective of psychological science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 20, 1-64.
  2. Smith, A., & Anderson, M. (2015).  5 facts about online dating. Fact Tank: News in the Numbers. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/02/29/5-facts-about-online-dating/
  3. FBI. (2016). FBI warns of online dating [Press release]. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/sandiego/news/press-releases/fbi-warns-of-online-dating-scams
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