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Online dating? Should you trust it?

June 24, 2011 at 12:00 am | Lifestyle

Sandra Appiah

Sandra Appiah | Contributor, F2FA

June 24, 2011 at 12:00 am | Lifestyle

Online dating is one of the fastest growing online industries. It may be gaining popularity, but should we trust it? How do you know, when we’re communicating via the web, that you aren’t really talking to some scammer in a dark internet café who only wants to get money out of you — or even worse, how do we know if the photo and information posted is even real?

I’m still up in the air about whether or not online dating is the “new way” to meet people but here are some things to think about if you choose to go that route.

  • Don’t Trust Anyone Too Soon– Online dating offers a decent amount of anonymity if used correctly. But don’t forget, the same amount of anonymity also applies to everyone else you chat with online. Be patient. Get to know someone well before you start sharing your personal feelings… and information.
  • Verify the site– Make sure the dating site you decide to join enforces some kind of verification check on its members. This will greatly increase the quality of genuine singles you are likely to meet. Many dating sites are infested with scammers who prey on inexperienced online daters. When a verification process is in place, this is a big deterrent for fraud members.
  • Pay to play– During your love hunt, you will come across options offering free and paid site access. The paid sites usually require verification for members, so you need to weigh up the pros and cons as to whether you should go with a free site or a subscription site. There are software programs some dating sites use that verify credit card details, address, age and other statistics including criminal checks. However, all the checks in the world will not guarantee your safety, the ultimate responsibility comes down to you and your sensible decisions.

Other important features a dating site should include is a “report abuse” option, and the ability to block undesirable advances from other members. This is a simple and effective means of protection. Site administrators also rely on their members to alert them if any kind of harassment is going on. In some cases, this will result in the cancellation of the perpetrator’s membership.

The greater portion of singles who use online dating sites are genuine, regular guys and gals who are seeking relationships with people they share common interests with. But as with anything in life, there will always be someone who tries to spoil the fun. Use the following tips to avoid becoming a victim.

Q. Should I include my personal details on my online dating profile?
A.
No. Never. Your profile should be a general description about your dating requirements, also include some hobbies — never display addresses or phone numbers.

Q. How do I go about meeting an online friend for an offline date?
A.
Only agree to an offline date if you feel the timing is right, don’t get pressured if you are not ready. Always meet in a public environment. Alert someone you know as to your location, and inform him or her when your date is finished. Don’t forget to prepare an exit strategy, just in case your date is not what you expected.

When dating online, your own common sense and intuition can lead you to meet someone genuine and fantastic. Be guided by that little voice inside your head and take that bold leap!

 

Photos via Google Images

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