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Think Before You Click: Using Dating Apps

Think Before You Click: Using Dating Apps

Girl clicking on cell phoneDating apps have become popular among college students, but are they safe to use? Is it possible to use them in a God-honoring and self-protecting way? It is, but you should follow important safety guidelines.

Let's start with two general principles:

  1. Know the general reputation of a dating app before you sign up. Not all dating apps are created equally in standards of conduct and the culture of participation. There are some apps out there that wisdom would tell you to not even sign up for and get started with a group that is not likely to be edifying.
  2. Make sure you are emotionally ready for a relationship. As an image-bearer, you are valuable and do not need anyone else to complete you. If you are not ready to date and navigate a relationship, that is OK. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to not step into online relationship spaces while you are in a season of healing or when personal growth should be the priority.

Additionally, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and the FBI provide us tips to stay safe while using a dating app:

Use new photos for your dating profile that are not on any of your other social media accounts. If your dating profile has a photo that also shows up on your Instagram, it will be easier for someone to find you before you want them to.

Stay inside the app. Don’t let someone convince you to add them to your social or to connect outside the app until you have evidence they are trustworthy.

Set up a Google phone number and forward calls to it to your phone. Do not give them your real phone number.

Do your research early in the process! Check out your potential date on social media to see what matches up with their profile on the app. Use sites like LinkedIn to help you compare images and confirm a place of employment and education. Use tools like TinEye to check that an image hasn’t been used elsewhere.

Block and report suspicious users. You can block and report another user if you feel their profile is suspicious or if they have acted inappropriately toward you.

Watch for red flags. Be aware if an individual:

  • Promises to meet in person but then always comes up with an excuse of why he or she can’t.
  • Gives vague answers to specific questions.
  • Compliments you excessively or gets overly romantic too early in your communication.
  • Pressures you to provide your phone number or talk outside the dating app or site.
  • Requests your home or work address under the guise of sending flowers or gifts.
  • Changes tone or grammar — may indicate a team of people working together for a scam.
  • Claims to work and live in various locations.

Take precautions before meeting someone:

  • Meet in a crowded place. If your date tries to change the location at the last minute, cancel and reschedule!
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going and ask them to check in with you during the date or have them stay close by during the first few dates.
  • Use safety apps, such as Circle of Six, bSafe, or Red Panic Button, that let your friends know your location or let you call for help quickly.
  • Be cautious about the personal information you share during the date.
  • Leave the date if you feel uncomfortable at any point.

Above all, seek God before you do anything and ask Him to help you make wise choices. Trust Him with your future and seek His will.

by Shannon Berkheiser
Title IX Coordinator
Cedarville University

Cedarville University's Title IX office seeks to create a safe place for all students on campus.


Posted in Title IX

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