Almost all of the popular online dating services provide some kind of safety advice and precautions about the potential dangers of online matchmaking. Stories from newspapers, radio, television and the Internet offer all kinds of cautions about the importance of learning safe practices when using online services. In addition, there are hundreds of websites whose purpose is to promote practical safety in online dating, as well as reviews of existing services and dating sites on the basis of the security and safety they offer.
Potential daters should consult these sites if they want practical advice about how to best protect themselves during the process, and learn about some of the key tools online daters can use to remain vigilant, such as background checks, safety strategies, and the do's and don'ts of meeting somebody in person for the first time. Some of the most basic rules about Internet dating safety include maintaining a sense of anonymity for any initial contact, and that means keeping personal information like real e-mail addresses, last names, home addresses, phone numbers, work place information, etc. protected.
Some other things to consider when first making cyber contact with a potential new date ? use a gender-neutral nickname at the start, and offer only general information about you. There'll be plenty of time to fill in all the details after you get to know who it is you're actually filling them in for! Prior to any kind of personal meeting with an online friend, most experts recommend an individual background check. In the very simplest form, this entails asking for personal references of the person's acquaintances, perhaps a professional reference, maybe a family member. Background checks have become easy to obtain on the Internet, not to mention cheap. Some web sites allow you to access free public records that could show whether or not your potential date has a criminal past.
Other services charge a fee for more detailed personal information. After checking the potential date out, talk with them via the telephone before making any set plans to meet in person. If the phone call goes well, then it might be time to take that final step and meet in person.
Always do this in a public location, where you feel visible. A great idea is to make the first meeting an encounter to which you can bring along a friend. Always make sure that others know of your plans, who you are expecting to meet, when, and where. Many online daters do not view online dating as more dangerous than traditional blind dating. Some even feel that the web is one of the safest methods of finding potential dates. But in fact, the Internet can expose potential daters to risks that don't exist in many traditional dating venues, and it is up to users to educate themselves against these dangers.
And remember, the risks themselves never actually have to materialize in the real world to have an impact. With things like obscene e-mails, spam, and online harassment, a partnership gone awry can lead to serious cyber stalking. Despite some Internet matchmaking horror stories, Americans continue to meet and sometimes have meaningful relationships with people they meet online.
A few words of advice from experienced online daters: Get to know your Internet friend over a period of months before you think about a meeting. If something doesn't ring true about him or her, break off communications. Get full names, ages and telephone numbers. If you decide to meet, get together for a short visit in a public place. Tell friends or family about the meeting. Better, take a friend along with you.
For Internet safety tips and strategies visit www.cyberangels.org.
Author Details: Here the Author Sam Yagan beautifully expresses views on Online Dating Safety. He rightly mentions the precautions to be taken while dating online using the free online dating services. For more information on free dating services, please visit www.okcupid.com.