The daunting dangers of dating online

The internet can be a wonderful place, but there are definitely dangers associated with it. Photo credit:

Last month, a woman fell to her death in Australia while trying to escape from a man she met on Tinder. Warriena Wright fell from her date, Gable Tostee’s, 14th floor apartment balcony after an altercation with him inside the apartment. He pushed her out onto the balcony, where she felt her only option was to try and climb down to escape.

Now, not all dates organised online end like this. We all have a friend or ten who have met their significant other on sites such as Tinder, Plenty of Fish or OK Cupid. It’s not for everyone, but online dating can be a very effective way to meet new people that you wouldn’t have the chance to otherwise. It also offers far more variety than your local pub and you can also partake from the comfort of your bed.

A survey carried out by The Pew Research Centre showed that 15 percent of American adults are active on online dating sites or mobile apps, and 80 percent of these people think that it’s a good way to meet people to date. Statistics for Ireland are harder to find a solid number for, but if you think about your friends who are single, look at how many of them use dating apps to talk to people.

However, like most things, it isn’t without it’s risks. It is dangerously simple to deceive somebody online and to use another persons pictures in order to lure someone in. With just a little bit of research, it can be very easy to catch someone out, and it is also simple to search an image in order to see if it really came from someone’s Facebook page. Becoming a 21st century online dating detective could be something that could greatly benefit you or your friends down the line, too. Apps such as Snapchat can help as you can exchange selfies, and if you’re talking enough, a sneaky add on Facebook should prove everything you want to know.

It is becoming increasingly common to meet up with someone you know from the internet, and if you do decide to do it, practicing some basic precautions is a really good call. Without sounding like your mother, it’s a really good idea to let a friend or two know where you’re going. Try and meet in a busy, public place so that you can suss them out before exchanging hellos. Most of the time it’ll be fine, but it’s important to have an escape if needs be.

As a generation that are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile phones to communicate, it’s common sense that something as integral to life as dating would become popular on mobile devices. Regardless of how you feel about it, it’s here to stay, and as long as you keep your wits about you, you could find someone you really like and make a connection. Or maybe, someone who you block on every medium possible. There’s only one way to find out!

Ailbhe Daly

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