Online dating has become hugely popular, especially during the pandemic. The statistics show that more than 40 million people use online dating websites. Social distancing and masks don’t make it easy to get to know someone. Thankfully, there are dozens of online dating sites to choose from. However, you also need to know which ones are the most dangerous and which to stay away from.
What is Online Dating?
Online dating consists of various websites and apps where people can search for a mate. They can scroll through potential matches and, if interested, contact the person through text, email, or phone. Some platforms now offer video calls as well, so you can have virtual face-to-face dates before getting together in real life.
When signing up for an online dating site, you are asked to enter certain information. Like Match.com and eHarmony, some sites ask a lot of questions to fill out a psychological profile to match you up with the best possible candidates.
Some sites and apps are designed for quick interactions or hookups, and others are geared toward helping you find the love of your life and a permanent partner.
The Dangers of Online Dating
According to Stanford University, 39% of heterosexual American couples met online in 2019. The figure is inching closer to the halfway mark, and as more individuals use online dating sites, the dangers increase. Predators view online dating sites as the perfect hunting ground to find victims.
Some of the inherent dangers of online dating include:
Roughly 1 in 10 user profiles are fake (catfishing).
Sex offenders use online dating sites to groom and find victims.
Online dating is linked to an increase of six times the number of sexual assaults.
The Most Dangerous Online Dating Sites
There are dozens of online dating sites in all flavors and colors. Basically, there is something for everyone. However, many people may be turned off by specific themes and a lack of security or privacy. When choosing the best dating site to use, try to stay away from these ones.
Sugar Daddy for Me
Sugar Daddy for Me is pretty much what it sounds like. The site boasts of being “The website for men who love to spoil and pamper their woman. The website for women who admire men for their accomplishments and what they have been able to achieve in life.” The dangers here are a setup for an obvious power structure that may sound ideal in fantasy but may not work well in the real world. Basically, Sugar Daddy for Me is soft-core prostitution.
For anyone who feels unattractive, there is the website Ugly Schmucks which is wrong on so many levels. The site is geared toward those individuals with low self-esteem to help find them mates. The danger here is why promote a feeling of unattractiveness and low self-esteem? There are so many other sites that don’t start you off feeling bad about yourself.
The other side of that coin is Beautiful People that celebrates physical beauty and exploits it in the form of a dating app. If all you care about is perfectly tanned skin, freshly coiffed hair, and a sculptured face and body, then this might be the one for you. Don’t expect any quality connections from this dating website though.
Perhaps a throw-back to the 1940’s men may appreciate the male-dominant themes of Delightful, but women may not. The self-proclaimed spin-off of Match.com says it caters “primarily to women, but also to men with a womanly interest in settling down.” They also offer dating advice to women, such as “how to become more dateable,” but men don’t seem to need the same coaching.
Tinder is known as a quick hookup app. Not that some successful couples haven’t found each other in the fray and created lasting connections. However, the basic principle of Tinder is a quick sexual hookup. This leaves you vulnerable to sex offenders, scammers, and other predators.
Lucy is a tinder-style app for rich people. So, if you want the same experience but at a 5-star hotel, then Luxy is your app. The CEO explained it as “It works just like Tinder… [with] one big exception: Our app allows users to weed out the poor and unattractive.” Enough said.
OkCupid was cited for unethical practices and conducting social experiments on their users. You cannot trust the information on this site and could be matched up with problemed individuals, scammers, or worse.
How to Stay Safe When Online Dating
Before meeting anyone in person, use a public records search tool to ensure they are real and who they claim to be.
Protect your personal information at all costs (enter as little as possible in your profile).
Always meet in a public place and let someone else know where you will be.
Keep an eye on your food and drink to make sure no one puts anything in them.
Trust your instincts, and if you have a bad “feeling,” leave, have an escape plan ready.