In just 5 years, online dating has exploded from 20 to 40 million users and according to Jupiter Research, taking a $900 million industry in 2007 to $1.9 billion in 2012.
A plethora of choices have also been launched aimed specifically at the Hispanic community and the ads are finding you everywhere when you’re online. So you ask yourself: “Is this for me?” or “Que diría mi mamá?”
Yet there are two useful facts worth pointing out if you feel your mamá will give you a hard time:
- According to Statistic Brain – out of 54 million single adults in the US, 40 million have tried online dating –so it’s worth taking a fly by and see
- One in six new marriages in the U.S. are now between people who met through an online dating site (Source: Examiner.com)
If you do, make sure you consider the following safety tips:
- Arrange to meet on neutral ground.
When meeting for the first time, never allow your date to pick you up from your home. In fact, your date shouldn’t even know where you live!
- Meet in a public place.
For a first meeting, always meet in a public place where other people are in close proximity. You may also want to consider going out with a group of people, or even on a double date.
- Pay your own way.
It’s always respectful for the man to offer to pay the check. Unfortunately, some men ruin the gesture by expecting something in return. Therefore, it’s a good idea for the first couple of dates to insist on splitting the bill. This way, you won’t be under any obligation to “return the favor”.
- Remember that alcohol affects your judgment.
The biggest threat to a person’s judgment when they are on a date is alcohol. Not only does it affect your judgment but it also lessens your inhibitions. If you are drinking, keep your drink in sight at all times and don’t get so drunk that you don’t know what you are doing. Better yet, avoid alcohol altogether on that first date.
- Use your own mode of transportation.
Make sure you have your own transportation to your public meeting place and also make sure you have enough gas to get you there and back home!
- Don’t let your date know where you live.
If you want to see him again, arrange a second date and then take it from there. If the relationship is going to go anywhere, there will be plenty of time to exchange personal information.
- Give him your cell phone number.
It’s safer to give out a cell phone number instead of your home number. Home numbers are easy to trace. Remember, if you are making calls from home and you don’t want the number to be identified, you can always ask your phone service to block caller ID.
- Always let someone else know where you’re going.
Be sure to tell someone close to you where you are going and who you’ll be with. You might even consider arranging a time for them to call you and check in. Or you could arrange to meet up later that night.
- Listen to your gut.
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you haven’t met him before and you know at the beginning of the date that something doesn’t feel right, then leave immediately.
- Always remain alert.
Even if you’re having a blast and the chemistry is great, it’s a good idea to remain alert the whole evening. Make sure you have a fully-charged cell phone with you.
What do you think? Will you try it? Share your experience here with us!
Monica Vila is “Chief Technology Mom,” born and raised in Mexico and co-founder of The Online Mom, the market leader in providing online and off-line tools to make parents of kids K-12 smarter and more comfortable with the technology that touches their family. The Online Mom is a website, an online newsletter, a forum for discussion, a network of certified experts and a social community devoted to promoting a healthy understanding and appreciation for the positive role technology can play in a family’s life.