The Dangers of Online Dating Make Headlines
The world of online dating is vast, and many people use services like Match.com and eHarmony to find long-lasting partners. However, you will occasionally hear a nightmare tale of someone who met the wrong person through such a website and ended up in danger - or worse. A few of these stories have recently made the news, which should be a reminder to all of us about the dangers of online dating.
Stories in the News
ABC News 2 recently featured an article that told two very frightening stories related to online dating. The first involves 32-year-old Jennifer Conyers, a young woman who was discovered dead in a burnt out basement in Baltimore City. She had been tied up and murdered by a man named Monte Carter, whom she had met on an online dating website.
In 2005, a similar incident happened in the same area. A University of Maryland - Baltimore City student named John Gaumer was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of a single mother. The pair had met on MySpace, and only hours after exchanging messages through the social network, they met up, only to have Gaumer beat the woman to death and dump her body on the side of a highway.
Educating Young People
For Linda Kelly, a forensic nurse who also speaks to young people about dating dangers, stories like those mentioned above are a scary reminder that things have changed since the advent of online dating.
"You know, there used to be more safety nets for young people as they were beginning their social lives and entering into relationships," she told the news source. "Now, with electronic media and social media, those safety nets don't exist anymore. It's instant now. Absolutely instant."
If you date online, there are a few tips you should follow to keep safe. Julie Spira, the Online Dating Expert, says that it's always best to alert a friend about your plans before you meet up with someone don't know well. Be sure to give this friend the screen name of the person you're planning to meet.
When interacting with people on the Web, avoid giving out too much personal information before get to know them. To make communication easier, use a virtual phone number that you can easily dump and replace if the person you meet ends up being a creep.