The assumption that online dating is safe

Why is there an assumption that online dating is "safe?" It has the same risks as meeting a stranger in a bar.

This “me too” post is brought to you by an aching stomach and the television show ‘Monster Bug Wars.’ Online dating safety and you; unless you’ve been living in a cave, or hiking the Appalachian Trail with only a burned pair of underwear, then you undoubtedly know about Match.com’s play to screen their members. This topic has been much discussed in the community of late and for good reason. People are getting sexually assaulted out thereAnd it’s not the least bit sexy!!!

 

Online dating sites are much like the local bar, if you think about it. The only thing that’s different is that when online, you’re in the relative safety of your home… What I find interesting is the legislation that’s out there to push for online dating sites to run background checks on their members. California had a bill that was making the motions to require background checks against the members of online dating sites, but it got quashed due to a lack of evidence from online dating providers that their members had befallen a sexual assault.

We don’t ask people in bars for their “rap sheet” before we take em’ home do we? How do we expect people to do this online? An interesting question, I find.

Common Sense < Online Dater Screening?

Ultimately, I see that dating providers will have to kneel to a screening process of sorts, for their members. Do I think it will ensure safety? To a degree I think it will help. However, it’s still up to online daters to make smart choices on their dates and the people they meet. That is, choosing to meet people in public places, letting people know where you are, exiting a date separately when it’s someone you don’t know well… That goes for both men and women.

You know, I have a particularly awful dating story of a woman I met off of Craigslist (and the last one I met from that site). Funny shenanigans aside, this lady was still married and on the run from an apparently abusive husband. While unlikely, it was entirely within reason that the lady’s husband showed up and messed me up bad… Fortunately, her massage pad was the only thing that did damage to me… and her dead tooth.

Perceived Safety in Online Dating

I’ve talked to a few friends recently about their online dating experience. The interesting thing is that they all felt it was relatively “safe.” I don’t know why this perception exists. It’s not as though online dating is particularly dangerous, but I don’t see it as being any more safe than, again, meeting someone at the local bar or hangout.

Your chances of meeting creeper online are probably greater, actually. I don’t have numbers to back up that assumption, though. However, I would be interested to see if a number exists that shows the number of online daters with past sexual offenses (no I’m not talking about premature ejaculation). I suppose if any of these bills pass, we’ll get an answer to that very question.

In the meantime, I’ll be anxiously awaiting an OkCupid study and chart on the matter.

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Posted by yannibmbr

Alex is the founder, creative director and managing editor at the Urban Dater. Alex also runs his own boutique marketing agency in Orange County, Ca: DigiSavvy. Among his treasured pursuits are bike rides with his girlfriend (don't be perverted, now!), hiking, watching the Portland Trailblazers and the LA Angels. Follow Alex: Twitter | LinkedIn

6 Comments

  1. I think the difference is that online dating sites take our money to "help us" find people. Bars don't. So, I can see why there should be screening. While I don't know if this whole Match.com initiative will be effective, it seemed like the woman who got assaulted did everything right in terms of safety (meeting him at a public place, emailing and talking first, etc.). It just so happened she met a perv who followed her back to her car. Anyway, it's an awful thing. Carry pepper spray and take self-defense. Then you can rest more assured.

    Reply

    1. I like the take on self-defense and pepper spray, both of which you used on me when we first met. Gee. Thanks, Kel. =)

      Reply

  2. I think it's total crap that it should be a law that they screen members and I'm not certain they can keep those people off without making to hard for people to join. What about facebook and twitter.. people meet there too. As for bars they take money from you to help you get a little drunk and the next thing you know you are making a poor choice about a person..maybe they are the ones that need to screen people. I'll bet more people have been hurt or raped by a stranger they met in a bar than on dating sites.
    My recent post Are you into Interracial Dating Study says Yes And No

    Reply

    1. Good points, Lizzy. However, studies show that an overwhelming number of victims know their assailant. http://www.rainn.org/statistics
      My recent post How to Publish Your Content Everywhere

      Reply

  3. I believe so Alex that there are some sites that are not safe. And you could not really tell that the one that you are chatting at is telling the truth or not. You could not see his/her whole expression. And I agree that it is better to meet in person because you have the opportunity to observe his/her actions.

    Reply

  4. […] know, I know, Craigslist – sounds scammy and potentially unsafe. Well, bear with me for a […]

    Reply

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