Online dating can be an adventure.

The Internet can open up a world of possibilities for your social life.  Dating websites, chat rooms, and social networking sites allow people of all walks of life to communicate quicker and more efficiently than ever before.  It's important to remember that when people are seeking a relationship behind the cover of their computer screen, it's hard to know everything that is going on behind the scenes.  The Internet medium makes it so very easy for people to lie about even the most trivial things.  Online dating is an engaging activity, and some people are lucky enough to find true love there.  However, there are plenty of sharks in the water, waiting to prey on those who do not protect themselves.  Here are some safety tips to remember if you give online dating a try:

  1. Conceal your identity.  It may seem a little mischievous to lie about your very name when you are trying to have an online relationship with someone.  However, concealing your identity is a great way to test the waters without giving away too much information too soon.  If the person turns out to be on the up-and-up, you can always explain later.  If they really care about you, they'll understand and be glad that you were looking out for your own safety. 
  2. Never give your address.  If things work out and you decide to take the relationship off the screen and into real life, keep the vigilance to the end.  Don't give out your home address.  Not only is this potentially dangerous, but you might not want them to know where you live if things don't work out as planned.  Meet in a public place instead, where people are around.  You can always invite your new friend to your home later on when their motives are confirmed.
  3. Don't trust a website with your safety.  Many online dating sites claim to conduct background checks on all their members.  It's a nice touch, but it doesn't really mean anything.  Never trust someone else's opinion.  Start slow and learn about the person you are thinking of having a relationship with. 
  4. Request a photograph.  This may seem a little tacky, but there are more reasons for needing a photograph than just wanting to see if they are attractive to you or not.  Knowing what a person looks like can help when a public meeting is arranged, and a lot can be surmised from a picture.  Also, if the person claims the photo is recent, and then upon meeting, they look nothing like it, you will know that you have already been lied to right out of the gate.

            These tips will help you to enjoy your online dating experience while staying safe.  Above all, remember to always trust your instincts.  If something doesn't seem right, maybe it's best to just stay away.  There are plenty of fish in the online dating sea, and nothing is more important than safeguarding yourself and your personal information.