Nope! Run for the hills! Save the children!!! Ok, we may have just gotten done binge-watching scary movies and drinking sodas so please forgive our outburst.
While safety and security are on our minds, though, we want to take a quick look at whether or not online dating is really safe. If you’ve ever watched Lifetime movies or Dateline NBC, you’re probably convinced that about 80-90% of people who try online dating get kidnapped.
Here’s the good news. It’s actually only about 70-75%. KIDDING! Online dating has come a long way and is a completely acceptable and safe way for you to date these days as long as you follow proper safety guidelines. Hint, if you’re new to online dating, click that link. It’s our online dating safety and security guide which will walk you through everything you need to know to stay safe out there.
Why People Think It’s Unsafe
The main reason that people think online dating is unsafe is that they don’t really understand it or they haven’t experienced it. How many times have you tried to explain something new to someone and they told you it was dangerous and not a good idea before they even had any clue what it was? If your family and friends are anything like ours, this has probably happened several times to you.
People are scared of things that they don’t understand. Sometimes it seems easier just to ignore something and call it dangerous than to take the time to understand it and see how it really stacks up. It would be a cool world if people did this and just said “Oh, I know nothing about it. I don’t know if it is safe or not,” but that’s not the world we live in.
People are also blinded by the media. When was the last time you heard the news reports on someone finding love online? Probably never. When was the last time you heard the news report on someone being kidnapped or hurt from online dating? Actually, we can’t really remember that one either, but the point is there are more stories about the bad sides of online dating than there are about the good sides.
All of the Lifetime movies and horror flics that are made can lead us to believe that online dating is a death trap waiting to happen. Sadly, this can scare some quality people away from a great emerging technology that can help them live a more fruitful life with someone special.
What You Can Do About This
We aren’t expecting you to “take up the cause” and spread the word that online dating is safe. What we are suggesting you do is not let this untrue stigma scare you away from finding the love of your life. Online dating is like anything else in the world. If you take precautions and do things the smart way, you can minimize almost all of the associated risks.
Can you stop your heart from possibly being broken? Probably not. Can you 100% ensure that nothing bad will happen? No. But you can’t do that with anything in life. Can you ensure that you’ll not get in an accident driving to the store if you follow all of the traffic laws to a T? You can never eliminate all of the risks, but you can do the best you can, and eventually, you just have to live your life.
Online dating apps are constantly working overtime to come up with new and innovative ways to make their platforms safer for you and other customers. Some sites use verification methods, IP scanners, reverse image searching, and other tools to identify fake accounts. Some sites will even allow you to submit documentation to prove that you are who you say you are.
Look, we aren’t here to scare you. We’re here to be real and to make sure that you’re not incorrectly scared of online dating. It’s no more dangerous than going on a date with someone you meet in person. And if you stick to the safest dating apps, it’s that much better.
In fact, it’s probably safer thanks to some of the tools and technologies we’ve mentioned above. You also get the ability to vet people before you go out with them to make sure their story checks out.
Don’t be scared of online dating. It’s a glorious tool that can change your life for the better this year.
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Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a journalist and data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.