Understanding the Dangers of Online Dating When You Live in a Rural Area

Posted by Olayinka Alawode on

Dating can be a tad bit difficult, especially for people who live in rural areas. Considering that the next-door neighbor maybe a few kilometers away, it is extremely difficult to meet new people, probably fall in love, and live happily ever after.

But, who says your soulmate has to be a few minutes away or has to be a member of your book club? 

The exciting thing about love is that it can happen anywhere and at any time. And people who live in rural areas are aware of this possibility and are not giving up on love–as they have turned to online dating as a means to find “the one.” However, while this option may be the best alternative given the circumstance, you shouldn’t be ignorant of its risks and dangers. 

So, before you download a dating app, create a profile, and select the best photos of yourself, you should know that online dating isn’t all glam and glitz. In the best-case scenario, your partner isn’t completely honest about their likes and dislikes. This is not to scare you but to inform you of every possibility to fully prepare and protect you from handling the worst situations. 

 

Here are a few dangers of online dating; 

 

Sexual assault;

At some point, you would want to see the person you have been dating online physically, and it’s understandable. However, no matter how sweet the person may be over-chat, keep in mind that you never know the true intentions of someone you meet online. For all you know, they might be a serial rapist. There have been many cases of people being nearly raped or raped by someone they met online. If you decide on a meeting, never go alone; always meet in a public space and share your location with trusted persons. 

 

Human trafficking;

Sadly, traffickers use social media to lure young people into situations or places to get them trafficked. This isn’t to scare you away from meeting people online but to enable you to understand the risks and dangers. To keep safe from traffickers, do extensive research on the person’s job via their social media accounts before the meeting. Also, always meet in public spaces and do not leave your food or drink unattended–traffickers can drug your drink and food. 

 

Fraud;

The cyber-world isn’t as safe as one may like to believe. Many people have fallen victims to identity theft, fraud and have lost their life savings through many dating sites. As much as you may like to trust your online partner, do not disclose personal information about yourself. No matter how in love you may be with someone you met online, do not give out your home address, bank details, social security number, and any other details that give someone access to your life. It’s unfortunate to find out the damage people have suffered due to identity theft. And the worst part is that you are unaware it is happening until it is too late. Some people on these dating sites would pretend to genuinely care for you and then start demanding money or nude pictures. Please, do not send any of these.

 

Fake accounts;

People on the internet are not always honest about who they are. It might interest you to know that people lure others into a relationship using a fake online persona–a term known as CAT-FISH. You might be in an online relationship with a single person, but in reality, you discover that you are the side dish, and they are married with kids. Not only would you be disappointed by such deceit, but you would also be left with a broken heart. To protect yourself against being scammed by fake profiles, google search the person by their full name and profile picture. If the name and picture don’t match the search, it might be a fake page. Also, if you’ve been “dating” someone for a long time and they refuse to meet in person, it could be an indication that they are not who they say they are.

 

Mismatched intentions;

In this age and time, dating sites are no longer used for what they are intended for. Sadly, many people use dating sites for popularity contests–they chat with other people to boost their egos or their social media following. Dating sites are created to meet interesting people to date and possibly start a relationship. It is a waste of time if you talk to somebody who is not interested in the same thing. So, to reduce the risk of meeting people who do not have the same intentions as you, stick to paid dating sites. People looking for a popularity contest are mostly on free dating sites.

 

I’m not saying that online dating is all bad. Online dating can be fun and exciting. Many people have enjoyed relationships and even gotten married from meeting online. However, with online dating, you need to be extra careful not to fall victim to identity theft, sexual harassment, and fraud. By setting certain boundaries such as; doing research, meeting publicly, not sharing personal details, and blocking any suspicious person, you can meet genuinely nice people and enjoy your online relationship to the fullest. 



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