Staying Safe Dating Online
Online dating has a number of great benefits over traditional dating, and the safety aspect is a large plus. You can get to know someone online without having to share your personal contact details or meet in person until you are comfortable and have built up trust with someone.
These safety benefits do require you to keep a few things in mind when dating online, and this guide is here to help you to understand the various best practices to ensure you stay safe.
1Signup with thought
When you sign up to create your profile, you will need to choose a public username for yourself. The key part is that this will be public - any other member of Enable Dating can see your username. For this reason you should choose a name that preserves your anonymity, anything that reveals your identity such as 'mike_glasgow' or 'kate_manchester' would be a bad choice.
After your username is chosen, you will be able to create your personal profile. While you do need to share things like your interests or taste in music, you should not share any personally identifiable details such as your surname, telephone number, home address, place of work or your email address.
Email, chat and video chat are all included within our service and are handled safely through our dating platform, meaning you do not need to share your contact details with any member.
2Staying safe during your online dating experience
Making contact with other members, chatting and getting to know people is what online dating is all about. It is exciting, fun and can be very rewarding. Staying safe is easy provided you keep a simple rule in mind - share details about your personality, not your personal details.
Stay within Enable Dating for all communication
There is no reason to give out any contact details to another member, nor should you share your social pages (Facebook, Twitter etc). Keep a clear separation between your dating profile and the other aspects of your life. Remember that our platform lets you go from initial contact, through sending messages to live chat and even voice/video chat - if someone is asking for another way to contact you (your off-site email address, or phone number for example), ask yourself 'why would they need this?'. The simple answer is they don't, so keep it private.
Be vigilant about security / financial data
Never, ever give out your credit or debit card number, your mother's maiden name, bank account number or agree to send money to anyone. If a member asks you about any of these details please report them to us immediately. By the same token, you must never ask any of these details from another member.
You are in control
Go at a pace that you are comfortable with, don't let anyone put pressure on you to do more than you are happy with. Someone you are messaging wants to video chat but you would rather not? Tell them they will have to wait - if they cannot respect your decision then let them move on. It is their problem, not yours.
If conversation moves onto topics you are not comfortable with, tell the other person you would rather talk about something else. There are lots of wonderful members out there for you to get to know, so never be afraid to block an individual who is not respecting your wishes.
Ultimately, most people who join with us are looking for a real relationship, and for that to happen their needs to be a real-world meeting. Everyone has a different pace, if you don't feel ready to meet then you don't have to. In fact you never have to meet, if that is your choice then you can stay completely online with your relationship. Remember, you are in control - so don't let anyone push you to meet them.
One final point, whilst not about safety, it is recommended that you treat people respectfully and in the manner that you would also like to be treated. If you are not interested in someone who you have had contact with, send them a polite message telling them rather than leave them hanging on and wondering.
3Taking things into the 'real world'
This is the biggest step, and so you should only take it once you are 100% sure that you know the other person well enough and that you are completely happy to meet with them. Once you do decide to meet, there are a few do's and dont's that you should consider to help keep things safe.
First Date Do's
- Arrange to meet in a public and populated place that you are familiar with, and do so either during the day or early evening. If possible travel there with a freind or family member.
- Make sure someone knows where you are going, and what time to expect you to be back.
- Keep in mind the same precautions as your online dating - don't share your financial details, or tell the person exactly where you live / work. If they ask questions you don't want to answer, be upfront and say you are not comfortable sharing such details just yet.
- Take your mobile phone, make sure it is charged and is turned on. If a friend or family member calls you, excuse yourself from your date and take the call. It will likely just be to assure the caller you are fine, it is good to have someone knowing what is happening.
- The last one is a very important one - stay sober. You know your limits, so stay well within them even if the other person is drinking more.
First Date Dont's
- Never send money to someone before you meet them, even if they say they need it for a new outfit or transportation. If this happens tell them to postpone the the date until they are ready on their own, and be very wary about proceeding.
- Don't accept to be picked up by your date in their car, especially from your home address.
- Don't agree to meet at your workplace or your home, make sure it is somewhere public and neutral - don't choose a bar or place you go to regularly.
- When the date ends, don't accept a ride home or to have your date travel with you. Ideally you should have pre-arranged to meet with a friend for your homeward journey.
- Don't get drunk, or leave your drink unattended with your date. Unfortunately there are people out there who will take an opportunity to drug a date's drink.
While all of this may seem off-putting, scary even, keep in mind that these guidances are based on being prepared for the 'worst case scenario' and the vast majority of people in online dating are trustworthy and honest.
Enjoy your dating experience and make the most from it, we just want you to keep these things in the back of your mind as you take your dating journey to make sure you stay safe and get the result that you are looking for. The right person is out there for you!