Whether we like it or not, nowadays, dating apps are part of our dating journey. It does not matter about your sexual preference, or if you are looking for casual sex or the love of your life – socialising with people online is a reality. With that in mind, here’s a list of five tips on how to stay safe while using dating apps.
Earlier this year, two men were murdered in Sligo after reportedly arranging an encounter through a dating app. Following this tragic event, Gardaí advised the community to adopt security measures when getting together with someone they met online.
Violence against our community is on the rise, with homophobic & transphobic attacks reported in recent days, & now gardai have issued the advice below following the horrific news of a man's murder in Sligo. Please be careful & reach out to your community if you need support ❤️🏳️🌈 pic.twitter.com/xnakctoBoT
— Dr Chris Noone (He/Him) (@Chris_Noone_) April 12, 2022
In a chat last year with GCN, the MSM Programme Manager for HIV Ireland Adam Shanley said, “the vast majority of the time, using hook-up apps like Grindr is a fun and pleasurable experience. However, on occasion, things can go wrong. Anyone can potentially become a victim, no matter how experienced, savvy or safe an app user you are.”
With that in mind, here are some ways to protect yourself from potential risks while using dating apps.
1. Check their social media
If you know or can get your match’s name or handle, check out their profile on social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to ensure they are not pretending to be someone else (catfishing).
2. Do not share personal information straight away
If you are not yet familiar with a person on a personal level, do not share any personal information such as bank or credit card details, or home address.
3. Suggest having a video call
Before meeting up for the first time, you can suggest having a video call to catch up. If they are very resistant to it, this could be a telling sign.
4. Let someone know where you are going
Send a screenshot of your date’s profile to someone you trust and let them know about your plans and location. Remember to check in with them if you decide to go somewhere else and/or when you arrive home.
5. Do not ignore your instinct
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, trust your instincts and do not hesitate to leave a date or cut off communication – it is not rude to put your safety first.
If you want more tips on how to increase your protection while using dating apps, MPOWER made a comprehensive post on Instagram with further tips.
If you were affected by any of the issues highlighted in this article you can reach out to the following:
- LGBT Helpline – www.lgbt.ie
- TENI Helpline (Transgender Support) – www.teni.ie
- Gay Switchboard – www.gayswitchbaord.ie
- Dublin Rape Crisis Centre – www.drcc.ie/
- Federation for Victim Assistance – www.victimassistance.ie
- Dublin Lesbian Line – www.dublinlesbianline.ie
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