The internet has changed many things about the way we live our lives. The way we listen to music, watch TV and films, and access information. And it has also changed the way we meet people and get into romantic relationships.
When it first emerged, online data was seen as a bit of social faux-pas.
It was the reserve of those people who lacked the social skills to find and start a relationship with people in the real world. And it was thought that the people you would meet through online dating would be geeks or weirdos.
To be honest, at the very start there might have been an element of truth in that, but it certainly not the case today.
These days, internet dating is as respectable a way of meeting people as through friends, families, and nights out in the pub. Most people have given it a try at some point in their lives, and my betting is that the majority of those who tried it have at least one positive story to share.
Nowadays, around 20% of relationships began online, and around 17% of all marriages began that way. This makes online dating the second most popular way of meeting people.
But whilst the boom in online dating continues, it doesn’t mean that users shouldn’t be careful. Just as when you meet someone in real life for the first time, there are certain precautions you should take to protect yourself, just in case.
Sadly there are still examples of crazy individuals misusing online dating. It is far from the norm, but it does still happen.
So, what steps should you be taking to protect your privacy while online dating. Well, there are a few simple provisions which, if implemented correctly should help you to protect yourself. So, here are the 4 top tips to protect your privacy while dating online.
1. No personal details on your profile
Your profile is how your potential internet dates will decide if they like you, so you need to make sure it has everything on it you want them to know, but nothing that you don’t.
So, while it’s fine to tell them what movies you like, places you want to visit, and your favorite alcoholic drink is, be careful to keep all personal details off.
By personal details I mean anything that a person could use to gain unwelcome access to you. Do not mention details like your place of work, precisely where you live, or places you visit on a regular basis.
Certainly thinks like phone numbers and family and friends details should be avoided. This might sound like common-sense, but it is amazing how many people make these errors. Keep your profile simple, clean, and safe.
2. Different Profile, different pictures
Most people have a variety of different social media accounts and it is advisable to keep these separate from your online dating profile. Not linking your profile to your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is important, and should go without saying.
But it is also important to use a different picture as well. Facial recognition software is easily available these days and any hacker worthy of the title will find it easy to link your dating profile with any social accounts and so learn a great deal more about you than you might want them to know.
Be sure to always use a different picture to make this hack as hard as possible.
3. Use different email addresses
Another thing to be wary of is using the same email address as you use for other things. Email addresses are on the face of it a relatively innocent piece of information and indeed something you might want to share with people.
But get to know someone first before giving them your email address. For setting up a dating profile and initial contact with a date it is advisable to use a separate email address. Go to any webmail site like Gmail or Outlook and it is easy and free to set one up. It is a precaution worth taking.
4. Use a VPN:
There are a number of security and privacy tools which I could recommend you to use to protect yourself online, but a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, does both.
It will funnel all of your online traffic down an encrypted pathway making it completely secure from hackers. It also hides your IP Address which renders you completely anonymous online. This makes it almost impossible for anyone to trace your dating account back to you if you don’t want them to.
There are plenty of other perks to using a VPN as well. It allows you to evade online censorship, so you can use your dating profile even if you are in countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia where access to such online content is barred.
It also allows you to access geo-restricted content, which means as well as being able to use services like the BBC iPlayer overseas, you can also log into your local version of a global dating service like Match.com
With these simple provisions in place, you can be sure that your online dating is both private and secure. And of course, be sure to take the necessary safety precautions when meeting in person for the first time as well. Happy hunting love birds!