Dangerous stories of online dating

Online dating provides users with the ideal place to meet people that have similar likes, dislikes and character traits to them.

It improves the chances of a user actually liking the person they’re going to meet on a date (because they can search for people that meet certain criteria), and, if you believe the online dating services themselves, an increasing number of people are also now finding lasting and meaningful relationships online.

Considering all of this, perhaps it’s no surprise our study found that as many as 32% of Internet users are dating online.

So, if one-in-three people out there are doing it, who is the typical online dater?

And that’s exactly what Alyssa did when she finally found a nice guy on Tinder—she had him pick her up at home and meet her mom.

“They may claim to be one, but that doesn’t make it true.”If you decide to use a dating app, Nissly advises doing some sleuthing.

“We want people to be safe,” says Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s vice president of global communica- tions and branding. In 2012 the meeting app Skout temporarily suspended its under-18 section, which had safeguards similar to Tinder’s, after adult men were accused of raping and sexually assaulting minors in three separate incidents.

“If you’re not lying about your age, we’re not showing you 40-year-olds.” Still, teens can easily circum- vent this hurdle by lying about their age on Facebook, which is how Tinder authenticates new users (the minimum age to join Facebook is 13). According to Augusta Nissly, the program coordinator for Family Online Safety Institute, lying is one of the most dangerous things you can do when using dating apps. They allegedly pretended to be under 18 in order to lure their victims.

“Don’t expect that everyone is telling the truth,” she warns. If they have Linked In, they might be too old.” Once you feel you’ve verified the other person’s identity, always meet in a public space first, she suggests.

Finally, Nissly adds, tell a trusted adult where you’re going, and make plans to check in afterward.

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