Dating in the 21st century has its advantages and disadvantages. Sure, technology enables us to meet and interact with more people than ever before, but it also has its risks. Having too much of your information available online can be dangerous because people can Google you and realize where you live and work in the click of a button. Making sure that your information remains private is something that people often forget to check on.
People often feel a sense of trust with someone they "talk" to online over a period of time, even though they may not have met them through someone they know. Meeting someone you met online can be a great experience; however, it also can be risky since you do not know that much about them until you spend time getting to know them in real life. While people are often unsure about online dating, it doesn't mean that you should avoid it. There are several precautions you can take to increase your safety. Here are some tips on how date safely online:
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- Set up a Google voicemail. It enables you to give someone your number without the risk of them finding out who you are because it's not your regular cell phone number. It also allows you to block contacts that you no longer want contacting you. It's free to sign up and it keeps your personal life separate from your regular contacts.
- Google yourself. It's good to know what information about yourself is available online. If there's too much available, take steps to get rid of the information. For example, if you have a lot information with your full name on Twitter, Instagram, Meetup, or other social media, you may want to reconsider putting your full name out there if you come up in searches too frequently.
- Be cautious of your social media use. Be aware of what you're posting on your social media accounts. It's easy to forget that many of the things you post are public. Actions like "checking in" places alerts people to where you hang out. Not only can someone access your information (or know about your family or kids), but you do not want people knowing your daily routine or when you're out of town.
- Take safety measures on the first date. When you go on a date, make sure to let someone know where you're going, and text them when you arrive and come home. Do not drink too much and impair your judgment. Also, it's wise to provide your own transportation so that you can leave when you want to and not have to give out your address. If this person turns out to be a great person, then you can look forward to sharing more information over time!
Please remember that while the Internet offers us many new people we may have never met otherwise, it also opens us up to people that could be dangerous. Don't put yourself in a compromising position, and listen to your gut if you think something is wrong. It's not rude to take care of yourself.
Keep in mind that most dates will turn out fine — even if the guy is a dud — however, taking safety measures is the best way to go! There is no reason not to enjoy dating in the 21st Century, just make sure you recognize that there are new rules when meeting people these days.
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