Dating safely during isolation (COVID-19)
With some parts of the world now easing restrictions while others remain in lockdown due to coronavirus, we offer advice on how to date safely during these times.
Dating safely when lockdown eases
Dating safely online during isolation
The way we meet and connect with people has changed dramatically over the last year with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). With meeting someone in person for a date being impossible or severely restricted in many places around the world, dating services are offering many creative ways of connecting. The popularity of virtual dating has meant people have been able to explore and enjoy new ways of meeting while staying safe. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your virtual dating experience while keeping safe:
- Many services offer video chat or livestreaming. This is a great chance to see if there is any chemistry before you might consider meeting in person when it is safe to do so.
- Take the same approach you would do if you were meeting in person, so arrange a time to virtually meet and agree do something you both enjoy.
- Virtual dates have proved massively popular. Being at home doesn’t mean you cannot do the things you enjoy. Not only are daters taking the chance to have a virtual drink or meal over video chat, but some are also cooking together, watching a movie, or taking a virtual walk.
- Getting to know someone through video means users don’t have to share certain personal information straightaway. Remember no one should feel pressured to share or do anything they wouldn't under normal circumstances. And remember what is said and shared by video is not something you can take back and delete.
- Many people are chatting more and for longer on messaging and video call platforms; so, take it at a pace you are comfortable with. And, if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or behaves inappropriately always let the dating service know.
- As always, we encourage users to stay within the dating service messaging system as this provides a safer environment. If you are using alternative means of contact during this time, try to keep some contact within the dating service.
And honesty is always best! If you’re not feeling like staying in touch with someone as you don’t feel a connection, let them know. Don’t joke about having virus or other health symptoms as a reason for not chatting or eventually meeting.
Our words of caution
Meeting and socialising online is not the same as doing so in person. Services work to keep fraudsters and their fake profiles away, to make sure there are no under-age users and to spell out the behaviours expected and the behaviours that are not acceptable. If anyone makes you feel uncomfortable or you are concerned about behaviour, then please report this to the dating service.
But users always need to be alert to those who are not who they claim to be and who are after your money, not your company. The ODA advice to users on safety is simple:
- Get to know the person not the profile
- Stay on the site messaging service
- Never, ever send money to someone you meet online or agree to transfer money on their behalf
- Let others help and guide you: talk to family and friends about your dating choices
- Stay in control – never feel pressured to do or disclose anything
What if someone you meet says they need help because of Coronavirus?
Sad though it is to say we are also asking people on social media and dating services to be alert to any new scam based on seemingly urgent and distressing stories about the Coronavirus or other illness, particularly now about ‘medical bills’ No honest person would ever ask that of a stranger online. End any such contact immediately and report to the dating service..