Meeting people online is easier than it has ever been before. Over the past decade, technology and social media have advanced, allowing us to connect with strangers all over the world. Dating app, Tinder, has 50 million current users. It is the most popular dating app and allows us to meet new people by simply swiping through profiles. However, like any other form of social media, Tinder can be dangerous. Here are some tips on how to stay safe as you swipe.
When you start speaking to someone on Tinder ask if they have any other social media you can use to contact them. If they are genuine they should have no issue letting you follow them on Instagram or adding them on Snapchat. It’s also a good idea to check out their Facebook. Tinder automatically tells you if you have mutual friends, so by checking out their profile yourself you’ll get a better idea of who they are. Catfishes will avoid handing out other social media or sharing photos of themselves.
If you’ve arranged to go on a date make sure you organise your own transport. Even though its nice of them to offer to pick you up, it's much easier to leave if you’re in control. If you get uncomfortable or want to cut the date short, you won’t need to rely on them to get you home. Also, suggest meeting up during the day. Now that it’s winter it gets dark pretty early, it is much easier to know your bearings in the light.
It’s a good idea to meet in a public place for the first time. It makes it easier to leave when you need to and other people will be around in case anything happens. Always let a friend know what you’re up to. Your mates have probably already stalked their social media for you but let them know the details of when you’re meeting up too. If you’re not too familiar with the location, even get a friend to hang out nearby. You could even arrange your date to be at the cafe where your friend works! They’ll get all the gossip while keeping an eye out for anything troubling.
Remember to use protection. Even if your Tinder match has been honest about who they are, it doesn’t mean they will be honest about their sexual history. Always use condoms, even if you’re on other forms of contraception. You don’t want a lifelong STD as a reminder of a Tinder one-night stand.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to use the block button. If anyone you meet online is harassing you or making you uncomfortable, you can always simply unmatch them and swipe onto the next person. You can also report users in the app. Don’t settle for someone if they are creeping you out or seem off, remember there are 50 million other Tinder users! Someone worth your time will pop up on your screen soon enough.