A recent Illinois ruling requires online dating sites to advertise whether or not they conduct background checks on their members. Mate1, a prominent dating site, seeks to negate the potential perils of online dating by creating awareness within its community.
Psychology Today’s Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D., reports that an online survey of couples married in the last three years showed that 1 in 6 had met through an online dating service. One in five people surveyed had dated someone they met online.
However, this type of dating does come with an element of risk. People do lie in their online profiles. These lies are mostly harmless: men often exaggerate their height (in most cases within 1% percent of the truth) while women tend to lie a little about their weight. There are a few cases, though, where lies turn out to be more insidious.
In Illinois, state lawmakers are trying to help internet users protect themselves against online predators. According to a Chicago Tribune report, legislation would require sites operating out of Illinois to say whether they perform background checks on members. Additionally, dating sites would have to post information about staying safe online.
The most proactive of dating sites have already begun to provide safety protocols for their clients. Many of these procedures include background checks and screenings to root out fake profiles. Several sites also provide online safety education for singles. It can be as simple as a one-page article. However, promoting awareness within the dating community is the most effective way to ward off danger.
One such dating site, Mate1, provides an in-depth article on how best to avoid the pitfalls of online dating. The introduction to the article promotes the use of common sense above all else, stating, “your own decisions and actions are your best form of security. Just like meeting people offline, online dating involves the use of sound judgment, common sense and trust.”
The site does, however, include a list of other ways that singles can ensure their safety. These include:
Protecting contact information and restricting contact. Daters will eventually want to share information like names and phone numbers. However, they should be wary of anyone who tries to force them to reveal this information up front.
Asking a lot of questions and watching out for signs of trouble, such as sudden frustration or contradictory information.
Requesting a photo and having phone conversations. Phone calls should only take place after a certain amount of trust has been established.
Not getting pressured into meeting, and meeting somewhere safe.
The key is maintaining awareness while keeping an open mind. Not everyone online is a predator, but those interested in online dating must be able to protect themselves. With these tips, online dating can be a safe and fun experience.
Mate1.com is an online dating site with over 20 million members. It is free to join, offering one-on-one chats, free voice recordings, personal photo galleries and detailed profiles.