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Tips for Safe Online Dating

Online dating has moved beyond dating sites such as,, and and is more readily available through apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, and Mutual. Additional social media apps: Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are also being used to meet others online. Our society quickly went from meeting people in an elevator to meeting individuals online and without having a conversation about how to do so safely. The information below can help you protect yourself and others while navigating online dating.

Tips for Staying Safe Online

Note: It is never your fault if you are assaulted. No matter the circumstances, it is the responsibility of every individual to get consent. Nonconsensual sexual activity is a crime and violates policy.

  1. Get consent for all activities: sexting, explicit photos, sexual videos, etc.
  2. Sexual favors or photos are not owed to anyone because you "matched" or paid for a date.
  3. When meeting someone for the first time, meet in a public space and drive yourself so you can leave if anything makes you uncomfortable.
  4. When meeting someone you met online, let your friends know where you are going and how long you intend to be gone.
  5. Trust your instincts! If something about the individual you are meeting or the situation you are in doesn't feel right, you have the right to leave.
  6. Be an Upstander! Look out for those around you and encourage friends to stay safe online. If you or your friends think someone's behavior violates policy, report it.

Warning Signs

Red Flags in Profiles

There are often warning signs that something isn't quite right. Look for these red flags.

  1. No name on profile.
  2. No face in any pictures on the profile.
  3. Only one photo of themselves.
  4. Multiple group photos, and no photos of just themselves.
  5. Multiple photos with an "ex."
  6. Bios with messages exchanging money for sexual activity.
  7. Bios with messages associated with gender-based violence.
Red Flags in Messaging

  1. Persistent about meeting in person.
  2. Continuously messaging after expressing disinterest.
  3. Asking details about your location.
  4. Asking to share location, or continuously tracking your location.
  5. Sending explicit photos without consent.
  6. Contacting you through other means (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) when there isn't a match.
  7. Making fake accounts in an attempt to contact you.