Do you ever watch old movies and feel completely flabbergasted about what dating used to look like? Even a century ago, couples were barely allowed to spend time alone together without families being present, or else it would be a huge scandal. Whereas today, you can log onto an app and find a suitor within seconds. The world of dating sure has come a long way.

The growing accessibility of dating has brought a lot of benefits to the world. You have plenty of options and new opportunities to find that special someone. That being said, you have to be smart about your online dating life. There is a lot of risk involved when you meet strangers on the internet. What if they aren’t who they say they are? What if they don’t leave you alone when you ask? What if they end up being dangerous and you didn’t even realize it? Of course, there are plenty of success stories that have come out of internet dating and you can definitely find success using those avenues. Just be sure to stay aware and smart with how you’re going about it. Here are just a few suggestions to help you stay safe while internet dating.

Open the option to talk, not just text.

That initial match can be exciting! You found someone interesting and attractive and they thought the same of you. Now you’re ready to start talking and getting to know each other. Once you feel you’ve really made a connection, try to take it just one step further. Rather than just texting or messaging, can you schedule a virtual date or even a phone call? First of all, this is a great way how to tell if you’re being catfished. But it can also be a perfect method to see if the chemistry is there when you’re not communicating through text.

A virtual date can be an exciting way to start a relationship. Feel free to look your best with your faux mink lashes and a nice makeup routine. Make your eyes pop and help accentuate what you love about yourself. This will be the first time that other person connects your face to your communications. Put in a little extra effort to make it a special moment. The beauty of a virtual connection is that you are in the comfort of your own home and can still look fabulous.

Do your internet research.

There is nothing wrong with doing a bit of internet research as you prepare for a date with someone from a dating app. Search for the person on social media to make sure they aren’t hiding anything super crazy. Know how to find out if someone is in jail or has been in jail in the past, or if someone is hiding a secret family. You need to be sure this person is legitimate and serious about you, so feel free to do a little digging to find out what you can.

Always meet in public.

If things seem to be going well online, it’s natural to want to meet in person. When you go on your first date, be sure it is out somewhere public. This way, if you get a bad vibe, you can leave or ask someone else for help. After all, this other person is still a stranger, so you want to lower any risk by not being alone with them right away. Test the vibe and make a decision based on how the first half of the date is going.

Don’t publicize your personal information.

When you’re dating online, you still want to keep your personal information as private as possible. Don’t post where you live or work on your profile. You don’t want any crazy people coming and finding you, so try to stay private about that more specific information.

All of these tips shouldn’t scare you out of online dating—it’s still a great way to meet your special someone. Just stay safe and remember to have fun as well!

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