As the internet becomes the epicentre of modern life, attitudes to finding a partner online are shifting, as friendships, business partnerships and recruitment become digitised. In 2012 alone, one in six online relationships headed down the aisle last year; people meet, fall in love and find happiness online. While the majority of profiles are the masks and aliases of genuinely interested people, protecting yourself has never been more important in your quest to find someone.
Identity Safe: Security & Social Media
Looking for a long time, a good time or a wild time doesn’t have to be fraught with a minefield of security issues. Protecting your details shouldn’t be a painful or lengthy process; a reliable anti-virus, firewall and anti-phishing program will prevent a host of concerns, including identity theft and hacking.
Dancing with online dating can be risky if the necessary precautions aren’t taken when creating your profile. You’ve locked down your devices and your defences are impenetrable. Before you congratulate yourself, Google your name and assess the breadth of information available – are you comfortable with complete strangers and potential love interests sifting through your Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter? To save you from the very small percentage of internet opportunists preying on dating websites, create another email address that is not linked to you, your social media or your full name. Remember, you identity is yours to divulge. Most reputable dating websites offer an online whisper service to protect their members, compare and contrast privacy policies and protections before signing up.
Tip: If you’re an avid internet café patron, make sure you never save any password or login details to public terminals. If possible, clear the cache before you leave for good measure.
Heart Safe: Time Wasters Need Not Apply
There’s nothing worse than a blind date; pushing conversation around the table and fiddling with cutlery, looking elsewhere and everywhere, just not at the person in front of you. You may even rehearse the self-righteous monologue you’re cooking up for a well-intentioned friend – no fakes, no time wasters, why can’t people just be honest? The temptation to upsell or gloss over perceived short-comings is particularly seductive online – they can’t see you, they’ve never met you and you’ve been savvy enough to keep your email and details off your profile. Fast forward three months and they’re suddenly The One or at least, The Someone. A slight hitch. A web of little white lies tie your relationship together – when they meet you, they will feel betrayed and foolish.
Be clear. Be kind and above all, be honest. If similar interests, attitudes, ethics, religious beliefs or hobbies are quintessential to falling in love, say so. If you’re sixty-three kilograms, six-foot seven or a bus-driver own it or keep it off the table. Just. Don’t. Lie.