February 5, 1997 · Cavalier Daily

Keeping Love Safe

In the midst of Valentine's Day festivities, this article gives advice on how to be safe while engaging in online dating. Targeted towards a female audience, it encourages women using online dating sites not to give out personal information, to save letters from online correspondents, and to take a buddy when going to meet an online correspondent in person.


1997-02-05 Cavalier Daily Keeping Love Safe.pdf
Tomika Anderson
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Keeping Love Safe
DAMN VALENTINE'S Day, anyway! Enough of the traditional cards and candy, dinner and dancing. Who wants to exchange gifts with someone who won't last six months when you can exchange “GIFs” with your soulmate half-way across the country?
In rapid speed, on-line dating is becoming widely accepted as a legitimate tool of the hopelessly romantic. As singles exchange their classifieds for printed e-mail ads, this technological phenomenon is making dreams come true.
It’s hard not to see the success of romance chatrooms, PhotoPersonals and CyberCafe groups because newlywed couples are on every talk-show lately, testifying to the power of such mediums. Unfortunately, the couples look like they outdate the invention of the computer by about 50 years and hopped on-line as a last attempt at love - making it a little difficult to “byte” into their stories.
In many ways, however, hooking up with people on-line is one of the safest ways to meet those outside your immediate area. During Christmas Break, I found myself on America-Online with friends, jokingly scanning for venues of romantic interaction with other people my age. On a dare, I posted my own classified ad in the "College Corner" of the "Love Express," and I'm still getting messages from people as far away as California - about 63 responses so far. I even had one man tell me, after one on-line chat the "private room," that he would fly out to meet me in Virginia. He went to great lengths to get my phone number so he could share this news with me in person. That's when I knew I had to be extremely careful about the details I revealed about myself in the future.
Although connecting romantically on-line can be (I’m guessing) fun and ultimately rewarding, one must take special precautions. The Department of Public Safety advises taking a number of protective measures when communicating and meeting people on-line.
First, never give out personal information over the Internet. Like any other form of communication, the Internet can, has and will be used as a form of criminal enterprise. Even If you are communicating with someone who appears safe and sane, your correspondence still can be read by a third party, who sees as it passes through cyber-space. This person does not have “love” on his or her mind and could use the information against you.
Secondly, save letters from your correspondent. On a recent episode of Oprah, parents of a 14-year-old girl who communicated on-line told the audience their daughter had been missing for three months. The parents and police believed the girl ran off with, or had been kidnapped by, a 28-year-old man she’d met on-line. Although none of the girl’s family members had spoken to the girl about the man, archive messages indicate that he might be related to her disappearance.
Last, but certainly not least, if you decide to meet with the person to whom you've been corresponding, take a friend with you. Arrange a "double-date" or travel in groups, but never meet your date alone. Arrange your own transportation to and from the meeting, greet him or her in a very public place and make sure you never stray from well-lighted areas.
Now that you have the low-down on Internet romance, it suddenly doesn’t seem so romantic. That's OK. Cyber-dating is not for everyone. The important thing is that if you decide to experiment, you know how to conduct yourself on the Internet. Valentine’s Day does not have to be a bust.
(Tomika Anderson's column appears Wednesdays in The Cavalier Daily.)
Date Added June 20, 2016
Date Modifed December 24, 2017
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

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