The RBL Guide To Dating App Safety (And What To Do With An Unsolicited D*ck Pic)
Almost half of all 18-to-29-year-olds have used a dating app, so if you’re thinking of trying it out, you’re not alone. Dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel make it easier than ever to connect with like-minded people, strike up a conversation, and meet for a first date.
Talking to strangers on the internet, though – is it safe? You’re totally right to be thinking about your safety before swiping right on a new match. So what are the dangers of online dating? Sadly, crimes like identity theft and assault do happen, but there are also lesser risks such as talking to someone for ages, just to find they look nothing like their profile photos. Ugh.
If you’re new to online dating, here are some of the best ways to stay safe (including how to manage the dreaded problem of unsolicited d*ck pics).
Trust your instincts
The number one rule of dating app safety is to always trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s totally okay to block that person – or even report them to the app if they’ve done something out of line.
If you end up meeting in person, you can hightail it outta there if you’re not feeling it – this is why you always want to meet in a public place. Even if someone has paid for your drinks or dinner, you don’t owe them anything, so always put your wellbeing above everything else.
Keep things (im)personal
Wondering what to be aware of when online dating? Unfortunately, not everyone on dating platforms has honest intentions, with dating apps sometimes attracting scammers or dodgy dudes. When setting up your dating profile, be cautious about what you share for this reason.
You don’t need to give your full name – a nickname is fine. In general, limit the amount of personal info you share, as details like your place of work, college, or even your pet’s name can be used by scammers to find out your identity. Once you get to know someone and develop trust, sure, tell them all about your crazy colleague or adorable kitten – but don’t give away too much too soon.
Use different photos from your social media accounts
When setting up your profile, think about your photos. You want to use your best images, for sure, but try not to use the same photos that you use for your Facebook or Insta profile.
Why not? Here’s a tip – any image can be searched via reverse image search on Google, letting anyone see where it originated. This means any stranger can potentially search your images and find out your real name or location, if those pics have been used elsewhere online. So don’t take the risk.
Don’t feel pressured to meet someone until you’re ready
You’ve just matched with someone who sounds awesome, but they’re keen to meet right away. You’re feeling their vibe, but are you ready to meet up?
If you’re after some casual fun, sure, meet up (and use protection if things get hot and heavy!) – but only if you also let someone else know where you’ll be and meet your match in a neutral spot, like a coffee shop. If you’re not ready to meet, don’t feel pressured into setting up an IRL date until you’ve been chatting to the person long enough to feel comfortable with them.
Always let a buddy know where you’re going
What should you not do on a dating app? Never meet up with a new person without first letting a friend know where you’re going. It sounds trite, but text a pal and say that you’re meeting someone new – then, send a text once you’re on your date to let them know everything’s okay. Or, if the date’s a dud, send them a quick text and ask them to call you with an excuse as an easy way out!
Say no thanks to those tequila shots
We’re all about letting loose sometimes and having fun with a few drinks, if that’s your jam. But when meeting someone for the first time, it helps to keep your wits about you. Sure, share a drink or two with your date, but don’t go crazy – most of us know how too much booze can lead to bad decisions, so save the shots for a later date.
It’s fine to Google someone before you meet
You’ve been chatting to someone awesome for a week now and can’t wait to meet them. Is it okay to Google them in advance?
Honestly, we say yes. You don’t need to tell them you’ve done it, but you might discover something that’s a massive dealbreaker (like them wearing a MAGA hat in a social media pic), so you can save yourself time by having a quick look online.
Ugh, seriously?! What to do with unsolicited d*ck pics
It’s an all-too-common scenario for online daters – you’re chatting to a guy and he sends you a picture; you open it, only to find out it’s a picture of his real-life eggplant emoji. WTF.
First, if you’re into the pic, that’s okay – sexting can be hot, so go for it! But in many cases with d*ck pics, the photo is sent without the other person’s consent, which is not on.
Yeah, it’s f*cked up when guys send unsolicited d*ck pics and this should not be happening. But what do you do if it happens to you? It’s fine to just block them right away, as nobody’s got time to deal with that crap. However, if you want to, you can tell them how you feel – it’s gross and disrespectful to send a photo like that to someone if they haven’t first agreed to see it. You can also report the person to the dating app itself. Most have strict standards that users need to abide by, so sending X-rated photos is often enough to get them banned.
If someone has sent you photos that have made you feel uncomfortable, it’s totally okay to take a break from online dating for a while too – your mental health and wellbeing should always be priority number one.
So, is online dating safe or not? Yes, millions of couples have met over the years through online dating sites, so it is relatively safe. But there’s always a small risk when you’re meeting someone new – so always put your own safety first. Follow the tips above to stay safe so you can enjoy all the thrills of online dating, without the stress.