If you are going to participate in online dating, it is important to learn to do it safely.
With the horror stories on the news these days it’s advisable to always note that even if you believe you won’t be targeted online, it CAN happen. Don’t presume that it WON’T happen to you.
When speaking to your youth beneficiaries about online dating, remind them that it is very easy to download an image off of a social media profile and create a fake account with a made-up name, age and identity. Teach your beneficiaries that they must not presume the person they are speaking to is real and is who they say they are as this can put their lives in immediate danger!
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Dating Online Safety Tips
- Know the platform you’re using. Ask someone in your close circle for a platform they are familiar with and one they trust. Alternatively, Google Search (and read the review sections) Dating Sites you could use rather than delve into unknown ones off the bat.
- Always keep your details private. Many Dating platforms allow you to be private and it’s up to you to select this option. Keep particulars like your address and live location hidden at all times.
- Play detective on potential suitors. You have the right to ask questions about where they work, where they went to school or university. Check out their other social media platforms to see whether their ‘stories’ corroborate what they have told you, do they have pictures in that uniform? Do they have this as their work place on LinkedIn? And if something seems wrong, walk away! Don’t confront this person if they are a con, they probably will have an excuse ready for you and a way to convince you why this doesn’t make sense! They have probably done this a million times! A real person will have years of pictures on their social media and nothing to hide, think logically when dealing with dating, just because you want to believe in this amazing new human you have discovered, remember there are real people out there to find, the risks are greater if you get conned.
- You’ve been “dating” for a while and it’s time to meet. You’ve met the love of your life online and things have been going great and the inevitable meeting face-to-face has come. Number one rule is to meet in a public place with lots of people around and preferable during the day. Ask a friend to be in the immediate vicinity with you. Don’t drink alcohol on this first meeting and don’t leave your soft drink or water unattended. When meeting at a place you have never been before, try and ‘scope’ out the place before the meeting: look for exits, know which landmarks are close by etc. Before the meeting takes place, notify at least three people close to you of where you will be and message them with particulars like the outfit you will be wearing during the meeting.
Remember prevention is always better than cure, so stay alert to stay alive!
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