It's not safe to assume someone you've never met won't hurt you, let alone assume someone you trust will never hurt you. Despite how the person behind a profile may seem, they may be out for more than just "Netflix and chill."
Always tell someone where and when you are going to a stranger's destination, and make sure your date knows people know where you are. No one will judge you for bringing mace in your back pocket.
Tinder is a voyeurs dream condo, and wherever they go they have a perfect view.Unsplash
Many people over the age of 40 likely will not be able to tell you much about social media — let alone online dating (although a few wise old-timers certainly can.) Didn't you hear? Aunt Becky and her old college boyfriend Donny reconnected on Tinder and are now happily ever after... except they are not. Aunt Becky is dead and Donny murdered her, and Becky didn't see it coming because she was certain the man in the pictures was the man in her head. Unfortunately, the internet has become a cesspit for manipulations, lies, and fraud.
It is easier now more than ever to access someones private information online, leading me to the fear what could one do to hurt me with this information?
In the past few years like a great migration, millions of people — old and young have turned to social media and dating apps for companionship. In the last 15 years, the internet has grown from a luxury to a necessity. Enamored with the ease and power of a phone social system, Exponential numbers of people create profiles — real and fake, to connect with others all over the world. This is Amazing. Awe-inspiring, revolutionary technology. A person in Hawaii can speak with someone from Italy in just seconds. That is to say, a person in Hawaii can board a plane to Italy in just hours.
A person can contact someone in their area, within five miles, and locate their name, their surname, their occupation, their Instagram geolocations, their hopes, their dreams, their favorite Tv shows, even their buried online journals from 2012. On the internet, there is no saying how many predators seek out information like yours, or mine.
"Reported crimes related to online dating have risen dramatically in the last five years. Exclusive figures for Sky News from UK police forces show that 2,054 offenses were recorded between 2011 and 2016. In 2011, 140 crimes were recorded, by 2016 that had risen to 676 — a 382% increase... Around seven million UK residents are currently registered on dating sites, and it's estimated one in three relationships in the UK now starts online."
The internet allows us to be vulnerable to information jacking. After one's information is stolen, there is no telling how it will be used. In the last ten years, dozens of murders have been linked to online dating apps. Stalkers don't even have to leave their parents basement to groom and spy on their victim. Online Dating is a dangerous game, but not an impossible one. Police analyze possible reasons for online hostility, and what to do when faced with it.
"Sean Sutton of the NCA's Serious Crime Analysis Section said further work was needed to understand the increase, but the team was considering whether this could include: The fact that people feel protected online, and their communication can escalate rapidly to become sexual in nature, leading to mismatched expectations....
1. Plan it. Say it. Do it — It is your date. Agree on what you both want from it before you meet up. Do not feel pressured to meet before you are ready or for any longer than you are comfortable with - a short first date is fine. 2. Meet in public, stay in public — The safest plan is to meet somewhere public and stay somewhere public. Make your own way there and back and do not feel pressured to go home with your date. If you feel ready to move to a private environment, make sure your expectations match your date's.
3. Get to know the person, not the profile — The way people interact online is not always the same face-to-face. Do not be offended if your date is more guarded when meeting in person or if things do not progress as fast face-to-face.
4. Not going well? Make your excuses and leave — Do not feel bad about cutting a date short if you are not keen. You do not owe the other person anything, no matter how long you have been chatting or what has been suggested.
Murder isn't the only crime connected to the internet. A recent article on ABC cites the link between tinder culture and rising sexual assault. "Sexual predators are actively targeting potential victims through online dating sites and hookup apps, like rape and sexual assault figures in Queensland, hit a five-year high. And while women and children were the most likely to be sexually assaulted or raped, men were not immune. Detective Senior Sergeant Edwards said in one recent incident, a man was convicted after violently attacking a date he met on a gay dating site. "This victim hadn't met this person before...".
There are ways to protect yourself against potential threats and still participate in online social rituals. It is advised you turn off your geo-location as well as your photo map. Keep your last name and particular spelling of your first name discreet on online profiles. When meeting an interacting with strangers online, it is always recommended you meet in a public place, and send your information and whereabouts to a friend or family member. Do not let fear of feeling foolish to stop you from picking up on bad signals/ creepy vibes, if the date is making you uncomfortable it is okay to leave. Always make sure you have your own way home, so you aren't relying on your mystery partner to pick you up, case your house, and drop you off.
In short, one must take precautions. Pepper spray is essential.
Confirming the reality of online insecurity, the popular streaming service Netflix released an all too real look into social media stalking through the lens of the stalker himself. Art imitates life, yes?
Keep both eyes open out there.
"Anyone can see what you post online. Stalking is very real and very easy to do.
I mean, you are reading and seeing all of this online, aren't you? Right."
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZtRnIwv_FY caption="YOU | Trailer #2 [HD] | Netflix" photo_credit_src="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZtRnIwv_FY" photo_credit="YouTueb" expand=1] YOU | Trailer #2 [HD] | Netflix YouTube