Is internet dating safe

Annie*, a sophomore at the University of California at Los Angeles, has been on a handful of dates with people she met on Tinder.

Dating sites and apps have gotten increasingly popular among college students like us over the last few years.

Maybe you’ve found yourself creating an Ok Cupid account or taking Tinder more seriously when you had originally got the app just for fun. After all, you never really know whom you’re talking to.

Meeting in a public place seems intuitive – if there are other people around, there will be someone to help you out if need be.

“Meet in public and do not have them pick you up,” Stewart says.

Bigger sites don't have to, but if they do, you know you can find information on how to contact them to complain or have some recourse.” You never know who’s reading your profile, so you should always be mindful of how much information you are disclosing.

“Don't include any personal information, [such as] your last name, what dorm you live in, what sorority you are a part of,” Stewart says.“All of these things can be used to track and identify you and even your whereabouts.” Phone numbers are also a big no-no until you feel comfortable enough to meet up with someone. “Pick a username that does not include any personal information,” Neate says.For example, don’t use anything along the lines of “jane_tucson” or “mary_90210.” Of course, it can be difficult to tell whether someone is potentially dangerous or not.We asked Stewart and Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, for their tips for enjoying dating sites while making sure you stay safe. If you’ve never used a dating site or app before, you might not know which one to pick.According to Stewart, you should always “stick to mainstream websites and be cognizant that anyone can join most any site and pose as any person.” One way to tell if a website is trustworthy is the extent to which it lets you protect your information.“Googling background searches will give you a wealth of options.

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