Connecting with someone from a chatroom or online dating website for the first time can be somewhat scary, and alarming at the same time. When you chat on the internet, it is important to be careful of who you are talking to, as it could always be somebody trying to be someone that they are not. While pictures can be exchanged, details, ages, and such, it may not always be the whole entire truth. Once you make the decision to meet an individual online though, it is important to keep Internet safety in mind.
If you are posting on a dating or social networking website, never reveal too much information about yourself at once. Do not ever post your real address or phone number. Keep it simple such as hobbies, books, or maybe a special quote. Don’t include your Friday night hang out, or places that you frequent on a daily basis, such as your place of employment, city parks, or restaurants and bars.
Never feel bad about doing a background check! Try typing their names into “google,” or other social networking websites. Look through internet records that are available online. Speak with other people to see if others know them, or thumb through a phone book. Don’t look at this act as trying to gather bad information. Remember you are only protecting your personal safety.
Once you have met that special person online, it is time to take the next step – meeting in reality! Decide on a location that the two of you would like to meet. Never meet at someone’s home. Be sure to make it a public place. Try a place such as a restaurant, where there will be plenty of people around. There is always safety in numbers! Another safety in numbers trick is to bring a good friend whom you trust with you. He/She does not necessarily have to be with you during the initial meeting, but be somewhere nearby in the background. If the date begins to go faulty, or there appears to be trouble, you can escape with them and leave to “use the restroom.”
Always let other friends and family know where you are going and what time. It might even be a good idea for somebody to know what you are wearing. While this seems a bit overprotective, it is always a good idea, just in case the event turns into an unsafe scenario. Carry your cell phone for added protection and have someone give you a “call” to check in on you.
The Internet may allow us new ways to meet friends and potential mates, but it is always to remember your safety! Back in the old days, your mom and dad may have always told you to not talk to strangers. Technology and the use of computers have changed this phrase somewhat. Always keep in mind that an extreme description of a person might be too good to be true. Descriptions such as claiming to be a millionaire, or they live in an expensive large mansion might be a ruse. If any situation ever makes you feel uncomfortable, you can always put a stop to the online chat, or escape with a friend if you are meeting in a public place. Always trust your instincts. Meeting new people can be exciting – just remember to keep your eyes wide open and your guard alert.