Not only have women been the target of gruesome attacks that originated in the online/dating app space, straight men, gay men, and members of the trans community have been victims as well.

Research shows that about 15% of Americans have used online dating, and 59% of people believe that online dating is a good way to meet people. The share of 18 to 24 year-olds who use online dating has roughly tripled from 10% in 2013 to 27% today. To be honest, I don’t think this data takes into consideration the fact that other major social spaces such as Facebook and Instagram (which were not created on the premise of dating) are being heavily used for the purposes of dating.

It’s apparent, online/dating apps are here to stay. Usage will likely grow exponentially as humans transition more and more into robots *Inserts cynical laugh*. Truth is, dating apps aren’t going anywhere, and I’m sick to my stomach from reading headlines of people who are getting attacked (sometimes murdered) from online encounters. Here’s 5 ways to keep yourself safe while dating online:

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1. Do not link dating apps to other social media profiles – If you have to link your dating profile to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other major app that gathers TONS of data, chances are- you should pass on that dating service. Many apps track your location, and many of us place information on these profiles that could easily be used to compromise safety.

2. No private first date – You’d think people know this by now, but apparently not. Don’t let anyone into your personal space until you feel you have a really solid grasp on who they are. Also, if you make it to the crossroads of a personal encounter, have a good friend on speed dial AND close by just in case things get cray.

3. Use a third-party phone number app – Some people thinks this is deceitful, but I’m a firm believer that until somebody proves they aren’t crazy, they shouldn’t have your real phone number. Beyond getting on your nerves, people can access tons of information just by having your phone number. I recommend Sideline, it’s basically a phone inside your phone. Sideline integrates seamlessly, gives you a local number, is great with notifications, and lets you send/receive multimedia messages (If you’re that kinda freak) LOL.

4. Take your time – Thirst will get you killed in these streets. Your gut already  has 95% of the answers so let providence be your guide. If you listen to your gut when it whispers (or screams), it’ll be your first line of defense against the foolishness.

5. Self Defense/Peace Be “Steel” –  This outlet does not promote or recommend the use of violence in any situation. We do although, recommend that you be well-equipped in the event that something pops off. Check your local listings for self-defense classes, and know your states laws on carrying concealed weapons. *Inserts disclaimer again- seriously*.

Share your experiences and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

BLKGUY.