According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of American adults have used an online dating site or a mobile dating app. But what are the risks when meeting someone for the first time?
Although this is difficult to answer, let’s take a look at some of the common concerns that might stop you from meeting up with that special someone you’ve been talking to online.
The Dangers of Online Dating
A recent survey showed that a majority of people who met online felt that the experience was safe and successful. However, a closer look at how these couples met might shed some light on why they felt this way. For example, only three percent of couples said that they had actually met up with someone from an app or site away from the location where the app was downloaded.
Considering this information, the safety risks usually have less to do with meeting up with a stranger from online dating and more to do with how you met. In other words, as long as you avoid someone who seems dangerous or uncomfortable, your worst fears probably won’t come true.
Here are some common dangers of online dating.
Catfishing, the phenomenon of creating a fake profile to trick someone into falling for them, has been around long before dating apps existed. However, this doesn’t make this type of exploitation any less common or severe.
While some people who catfish use their fake persona to flirt with the other person in an attempt to gain their trust, some can be downright dangerous. In fact, a 2014 study found that one in five adults who have personally used an online dating site or mobile app have been catfished.
People who use the internet to coordinate a meeting with a minor may do so for several reasons, including sexual assault and child sexual exploitation, warns the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Because of this, law enforcement officials are extra vigilant when it comes to online contact with children.
If you’re not careful, online predators can be harder to spot than you might think. A 2013 study showed that almost 40 percent of female respondents had sent or received sexually suggestive messages online. And with tools like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp being so prevalent, the idea of an app with built-in security is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
There is a growing concern that online dating sites and apps are becoming havens for extorters. If you’re not familiar with the term, sextortion refers to cybercriminals who use personal information or images of someone (usually obtained by hacking) to demand money in exchange for keeping the material private. Because of this, it’s becoming more and more common for people to meet up in a public place before going out together.
According to a recent survey, 52% of Americans who have used …….