The Online Dating Association has offered advice on how to remain safe during isolation, as well as how to make the most of just communicating online.
The advice was inspired by Christian Connection, the faith-based dating service which complied its own guidance to ensure users were still able to interact while, most importantly, staying safe.
The tips offered by the ODA are:
- “Make the most of technologies – use live streaming or video chat where services offer this. It can be useful to see if there’s any connection before meeting in person for the first time – even in more normal circumstances.
- Why not have a virtual ‘drink’ or ‘meal’ over video chat? Arrange a time when you both have some privacy at home, so you can relax and focus.
- You could watch a movie ‘together’ by arranging a time and hitting ‘play’ at the same time. Netflix allows you to watch with friends using Netflix Party.
- If you’re into gaming, you could set up a multiplayer online game. If you don’t have a games console, there are still other ways to play games online for free. Use it as an opportunity to try something new.
- Why not get to know people on the discussion boards many services have set up – hopefully you will find a lively and friendly community of people from all backgrounds.
- Of course, there’s always the phone, instant messaging apps and social media. 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 let the service know of any unwelcome behaviour.
- And keep being honest! 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 the virus or other health symptoms as a reason for not chatting or eventually meeting.”
George Kidd, CEO of the ODA, said in a statement: “It’s never been more important to keep physical distance from others, but never more important, therefore, that we use technology to keep and expand our social network. At the same time we must remember there will always be someone out there trying to take advantage of our good natures. Stay safe online.”
The isolation advice from the British Government will remain in place for a minimum of three weeks, with the most vulnerable members of society being placed in total isolation for 12 weeks.
The ODA is also warning online daters to be aware of many potential scams which are also going around on dating sites.
Its advice on this situation is: “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’ or the need to pay for a virus test.
“No honest person would ever ask that of a stranger online. End any such contact immediately and alert the service provider.”
Read more here.