After a couple weeks of exhaustive research into the online dating world, I am sure of one thing: dating online brings with it a lot of questions around personal safety and how we protect ourselves.

Questions like, which app is safest? Where can I be safely exposed to the best potential matches? How do I know someone is real and not catfishing me? Is it too dangerous to meet face-to-face?

Today at Hueya we wonder, how can you date smarter in an increasingly complex online dating world?

  1. Make a conscious decision between paid and unpaid services. You would think paid services would be safer than unpaid services, and at times this is true. But even most paid services give away quite a bit of information for free before paid services kick in. Especially sites like OkCupid that give away a TON of information for free.
  2. Choose apps based on how you can communicate with your matches. For example, Bumble allows women to make the first move, providing more control for women trying to avoid unsolicited pursuit. Some sites, like OKCupid, allow anyone to message you even before you’ve been matched. On others, such as Tinder, anyone can start a conversation but only after matching. The point is, you have a choice about how you communicate or are communicated with.
  3. Be conscious of what information you share. Sharing your employment information can give away really specific location data that can be dangerous to your safety. I actually have a friend who has had men show up at her restaurant because they knew she worked there. Sure, maybe they are just trying to grab your attention with a grand gesture, but what if their intentions are more sinister? You can’t be too careful.
  4. Be aware that all the information you share on dating profiles can be used to find you on other social media sites. Sharing what we call “personally identifiable information” like name, age, and current city can be used for cyberstalking and identity theft. This creates a major risk for those who share a lot of information on dating sites.

What I’m saying is there are ways to successfully date online and do so in an empowered way, but it requires awareness and attention. So long as personal safety is as much a focus as finding a partner the rest will take care of itself.

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