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Online dating

Being safer when meeting people online.

Just like in real life, there are lots of opportunities online to meet people and start new relationships. If you are dating someone online, or thinking about it, here are some things to consider.

Sharing information and building trust

When you meet someone online, it can be harder to tell who they are and what their intentions are.

A lot of dating websites and apps are aimed at people age 18+. By using websites designed for people your age, you are more likely to find people who share your interests and values.

It may feel natural to share personal information in a conversation with someone you’re interested in, like your mobile number, your school,  or what area you live in. It’s important to build a connection with someone before you share that information so you know that they are trustworthy and reliable.

You may not want the person to know personal information about you if they turn out to be untrustworthy or a catfish. Regularly review your privacy settings on any profiles you have. These help you to be in control of what information you share with people and when.

It’s never ok to be pressured into sharing information. If someone you’re speaking to is pressuring you to do or share things that make you feel uncomfortable, you can block or report them them.

Making healthy connections

There are some qualities that are important to have in a relationship to help it to stay healthy and positive.

Here are 5 qualities to think about and how you might spot them in someone you’re talking to online.

  • Respect: they show respect for your feelings and opinions.
  • Communication: they listen to you and value what you say. They talk openly about how they are feeling.
  • Trust: they accept what you tell them and don’t make you feel like you have to justify yourself.
  • Equality: they treat you as an equal and take into account what you need and want.
  • Best interests: they care about you and want what’s best for you.

Meeting up with someone you met online

If you’re thinking about meeting up in person with someone you met online, speak to an adult you trust first and read our tips on how to do this safely

Spotting warning signs

Dating online makes it harder to know if the person you’re speaking to is genuine. There are things that you can look out for when speaking to someone online that might mean something isn’t right.

  • They don’t want to video chat. If they avoid you seeing their face or hearing their voice, it might be because they want to hide how old they are, what sex they are, or their appearance.
  • They don’t want you to tell anyone about them. If they want you to keep them a secret from your friends or family, they might not be genuine.
  • They sound too good to be true. If they are claiming to have lots of money or a fancy job, they might plan on using this to get something from you, like photos or your personal information. This can be a warning sign of grooming.

If you’re worried that someone you’ve met online isn’t who they say they are or if they are making you feel uncomfortable, speak to a trusted adult or report it to CEOP.

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Use their crisis messenger by texting THEMIX to 85258.

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