Dating apps offer a fast and convenient way to meet new people and to score a date. Even the younger generation are increasingly becoming more and more exposed to using various dating apps. However, beyond the fun and exciting facade of these dating apps are potential risks that can harm and endanger you.
Prevalence of Crime Associated with Dating Apps
Data reveals that sexual assaults associated with online dating sites or free chatlines sites have risen by over 450% in the past 6 years. Another study conducted by Statista portal of statistics and studies also revealed that 61% of Americans aged 18 to 29 years has already used a dating app at some point in their life. Another study which was conducted in Hong Kong states that among almost 700 students, those who are using dating apps online doubles their risks for sexual abuse compared to non-users.
Given these alarming figures, it is about time to open our eyes about the potential dangers of using online dating apps. It doesn’t make sense to come up with excuses and other forms of reasoning. It can be fun – it’s true. However, the dangers and risks far outweigh the “fun” element at this point. Given the rate of crimes associated with online dating apps, it is about time that you learn how to practice precautionary measures to protect yourself at all cost from offenders that use these tools to lure their victims.
Crimes Associated with Dating Apps
You might have probably heard about dating apps horror stories. While you may accuse your parent, relative or friend about fabricating such stories to stop you from using these apps, there is actually a lot of truth in them. In fact, there is more than a truckload of recorded data about crimes associated with online dating apps. Here are the most common ones;
- Sexual Assault and Rape
- Identity Theft
- Harassment and Extortion
- Theft and Robbery
How to Protect Yourself
Dating apps can be fun and entertaining. However, they can expose you to a lot of risks and danger. Research had shown that sexual offenders such as rapists make use of online dating apps to find new victims. So what may seem like a harmless meet up can actually turn into a tragedy before you even know it. The least you could do is to protect yourself and to keep your guards up. Here are 10 basic tips on how you can protect yourself;
- If you’re having uncertainties and doubts, don’t agree to meet up
- If you agree to meet up, do it in a public place and bring a friend with you
- Don’t agree to meet up or to go in a private place where it’s just you and your date
- If you want to talk to your date in private, choose a restaurant or a cafe where there are people nearby. It would be best to ask a friend to keep an eye on you from a distance.
- Don’t take anything that is offered to you such as a drink or even food
- Keep in mind that you’re dealing with a complete stranger and as a rule of thumb; it is not safe to talk to strangers. So be extra careful.
- Don’t disclose any personal information, your address, your school and where you work
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, excuse yourself politely and leave.
- Conduct your own investigation before agreeing to meet up. Check out photos and other disclosed information.
- The best way to protect yourself is to take your time. Don’t agree to meet up right away no matter how comfortable it may sound. A stranger is still a stranger and you’ll never know what lies behind a friendly conversation. Keep your interaction within the dating site and don’t bring it elsewhere. Romance doesn’t happen overnight. So don’t give in to any requests and always be mindful about what you say.
Parting Words: Protecting Yourself as Your Top Priority
As a final word on this topic, dating apps are supposed to be fun and exciting. However, given the situation right now, there is no doubt that they’ve been corrupted and used for all the wrong reasons by mindless people. I’m not discouraging you or anyone else from using these apps. What matters more at this point is to generate awareness on how users can protect themselves and to keep their guards up to maximize their safety.
While there is nothing wrong about using dating apps to meet new people and to make new friends, something is terribly not right about the people who are using them. So even if your intentions are clean, you’ll never know if the person you’re talking to has the same intent and purpose. The least you could do is to never expose yourself right away until you’re totally, completely and 100% sure about it. And even if that’s the case, it is still best to practice the top 10 precautionary measures shared in this post.