I know what you are thinking, why is she bothering to write about something everybody already knows! Believe me when I say that I did consider that when I started typing but then I thought, well it really can’t hurt to have it reinforced can it?
While everybody knows the dangers associated with internet dating there are times when we simply forget or think that these things will never happen to us, don’t deny it we all at some point think that horrible things only happen to others until it happens to us!
Of course there are varying degrees of horrible things that happen to people and these are viewed differently by different people.
With online dating the risks can be apparent before you even meet a potential date. Giving out personal information within your profile is definite no-no. Putting this information into your profile leaves you very exposed as you are not screening who has access to it. The main things to avoid in your profile are;
- E-mail, although you can screen your incoming mail and report spam it is still an inconvenience and can become distressing.
- Mobile phone number, again any contact can be screened but can still cause a problem, while it may be easy to change a mobile number the aggravation this will cause can be huge. Letting people know of your new number can take some time and there is always one person who gets left out (and you can guarantee that it’s an important person).
- Home phone number, again this can be changed but not as easily as a mobile number and can be more difficult to screen calls.
- Home address, this is such an obvious one and can cause some serious problems if this little piece of information gets in to the wrong hands.
When you get talking to someone you can usually get a fair idea of who they are and whether or you are compatible. After a few weeks (yes weeks) of messaging on the site you should know whether you can trust someone enough to give out this type of information. Women in particular have a good sense of when things don’t feel right, women’s intuition is a wonderful thing as long as you listen to it. This instinct is rarely wrong but can give warning signals for a number of reasons, just because you get a bad feeling about someone please don’t jump to conclusions, they are probably a really nice guy but just not right for you.
I realise that this seems to be geared towards women and that is by no means intentional. Guys can have just as much of an issue when it comes to internet dating as women (think Fatal Attraction and lock up the bunnies!).
Most of the time, you will have no problems with using these sites and major issues are very rare. The most anyone will experience is minor unwelcome attention such as text messages. It is very rare that things will escalate to a more sinister level but this does happen occasionally and it doesn’t hurt to have a friendly reminder. We are only human and sometimes get swept along with the enthusiasm which lead us to the site in the first place.
It is of course important to enjoy your experience with internet dating, otherwise there would be no point to it, just remember to be safe while you are doing so.
Written by Emma Pollard.