Online Dating: Safe or Scary?

Online dating has become one of the most popular ways to meet potential partners over the last twenty years. In 1998, emails became an essential form of communication between individuals who were on different time schedules. At this point in time, technology wasn’t as advanced, but with with a little help from mainstream exposure, the idea of dating through a computer became normalized. The biggest contribution to the online dating circuit was when the film “You’ve got Mail” hit the big screen. It showed admirable celebrities, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, carrying out a relationship via email. It introduced to the public in a gentle way that it was acceptable to have this “type” of interaction, pun intended.

At the turn of the new century, the internet became faster, more advanced and a lot more personable. Dr Neil Clark Warren launched eHarmony, the first successful dating site. The website matched profiles with others based on interests, work schedule and personality traits that would hopefully result in healthy long term relationships. Since the launch of the website, millions of people have found love through their relationship calculations. However, some people aren’t always so lucky when taking a swing at online dating.

The MTV hit show “Catfish” has many of these horror stories. The shows premise is to investigate couples that have met online. Often times, they find out that one or both people involved haven’t been totally honest about themselves and are using the other person for emotional, financial, sexual and addictive related reasons. The explore the issues that with Online dating, you’re never sure if the person you’re talking is the person they say they are. Anyone can find and send pictures of anyone to a significant other or make up a fantasy life that they wish was their own. This becomes especially dangerous when the lies involve sharing personal information and even worse, potentially harmful physical interaction.

It is important to remember when participating in online interactions that you’re careful with what information you expose about yourself. Whether you’re on Facebook, where you can show you’re single, or Tinder where you can choose what picture you want to portray your appearance, there’s no way of knowing for sure who you’re communicating with until you meet them. Some easy tips for insuring safety is talking to someone on the phone before meeting. You can always bring a friend with you to wherever you go and always meet in a public place for the first few interactions. At the same time, try not to be too nervous. Chances are the person you’re meeting is just as nervous, could result in a life long friendship or even more!