Within the past 24 hours, I have read two recent articles about victims of murder who were targeted through gay dating apps!
Well, can they even be considered “dating” apps with names such as “Jack’d” and “Grindr” that suggest ideas of hooking up and “one nighters?” Regardless of what you seek through these social tools, you may not get what you’re looking for if you’re not careful.
It only takes a few people to f*ck a good thing up!
If you follow The N Crowd on Facebook, then you may have seen a shared post titled, “Militants use social media to lure, kill gay Iraqi men” which was reported by the Washington Blade. Or what about the NFL Delivery Pizza Guy story that recently broke on The Washington Post? By the end of the article is was revealed that 44-year-old, Lester “Roy” Jones was the victim of a murder after being lured by a dating app.
This madness is simply out of control and lets me know that the gay community needs to practice safer habits when meeting guys online. In addition to being careful about who you allow into your life in your offline dating experiences, this precautionary approach should be treated no differently ONLINE.
Here are 5 simple tips you can use to protect yourself while using online dating apps:
We all have a little private investigator in us. Take advantage of the internet and don’t feel bad about doing some preliminary research about this guy through Google, Facebook, and any other online tool out there.
2. TELL YOUR FRIENDS
If you do decide to meet up with this guy, be sure to alert at least one friend about the exact location where you are going. Smartphones make this much easier because you can easily forward a text of your exact location.
3. WAIT, NOT SO FAST SIR!
Gay men are generally quick to meet up in person after exchanging very few words in an online environment. Of course the goal is to do the whole “meet and greet” thing as soon as possible so that human to human interaction is not replaced by text messages and FaceTime. However, lets replace the word “possible” with “safe.” The goal should be to meet up as soon as you feel SAFE!
4. DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS
Remember that time when you had a gut feeling that he was cheating and it turned out that you were right? This should have been a lesson to never completely ignore your instincts and of course not to ignore the OBVIOUS signs.
5. MEET IN PUBLIC
I saved this one for last, but really this should be on TOP of the list. When you do decide to meet up with this stranger (because that’s exactly who he is), you must make sure that it’s at a public place in broad day light. I’m sure you receive plenty of invitations to come over to his place and “chill,” but you shouldn’t feel obligated to do so. Make sure everything is happening on your terms. Don’t sell yourself short.