How to Use Dating Apps Safely


Online dating has emerged in the mainstream media as one of the main forms of dating. Joining dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, OkCupid, and others has become much more common. While online dating has now been integrated into mainstream culture, harmful trends in online dating have been identified that are interfering with users’ safe connection with people. Whether you meet someone online or in person, the path to taking the necessary precautions is the same. For those new to online dating, please know that you have agency as you explore your journey of connecting with others. Read on to learn How to Use Dating Apps Safely.

Rule #1: Understand security features

Some online dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid have many in-app features that allow users to engage in safe online dating. Given the general dangers and scrutiny of online dating, dating apps have privacy policies and security guides that users can read and use at their leisure! This level of transparency is very important when it comes to using dating apps safely. There are many dangers lurking – not only with strangers in these apps, but also with online platforms that contain all kinds of information.



Tinder has a section on their website called “A Guide to Tinder” where the website/app addresses and explains any concerns one may have about using online dating apps safely. This guide will not only show you what you need to get started, but also show you what to expect. For example, when users sign up for online dating apps for the first time, the structure begins with setting up your dating profile. This profile setup starts by reviewing your photos.

According to Tinder’s Photo Verification FAQ, “Photo Verification allows you to verify your profile, shows potential matches that you really are you… and gives you the opportunity to make more informed decisions before liking or “liking” Saying no” is just one of the ways we’re making Tinder a safe place to meet new people.” Essentially, Tinder allows you to verify your photos, not only to protect your identity, but to be a signal to others that your profile is trustworthy as well.

Ok Cupid

Online dating app OkCupid has an entire section devoted to safety tips for using their app. Specifically, they discuss reporting and blocking offensive language, harassment, or inappropriate messages from other users. According to’s safety tips section, “You know when someone’s crossed the line, and when they do, we want to know about it.”

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Bottom line, there’s a reason to verify photos and have the ability to unmatch, block, and report. Use them! You have the agency to use your own judgment and intuition to find out what is pushing your boundaries in dating.

Rule #2: Identify and state your limitations

Now that we’ve covered the in-app security measures in dating apps, let’s talk about identifying and naming boundaries. Boundaries are natural and internal protections that we impose on ourselves and others. Boundaries can sound like positive statements like, “This isn’t me. Please stop.” It can also seem like you’re leaving a room when you find yourself in tense or awkward situations. Just like dating in person, the danger with dating online is that most people tend to be the Not respecting the boundaries you set. In the virtual world of dating apps, people are often “ghosted” or verbally challenged by others. It’s important that you take the time to explore your dating style and identify your boundaries If you’re not sure where your limits are, here’s a place to start.


Leverage intentional check-ins with yourself

Take time out of your week to be able to examine your emotions. If someone said something on a dating app that made you feel uncomfortable, how did it make you feel? What is behind this discomfort? What came to your mind when you read this message? Observe yourself by naming the emotion that arises. Be mindful and curious about how this is received. Make a note of this information throughout your online dating exploration.

Be careful how you communicate with others

Online dating dangers also involve how you interact with others. In other words, just as likely as you are “ghosted,” you may find yourself “ghosting” from time to time. Practice confidence in how you present yourself on online dating apps. Be curious about how you make others feel and whether that behavior truly reflects your authentic self.

What are you looking for in online dating? Be honest!

Be curious about what you are looking for when using online dating apps. Are you looking for a serious relationship(s)? Friends? Connections? A great online dating tip is to be honest with yourself and others about your intentions within the app. The last thing you want is to create unnecessary confusion. Some in-app features also have the option to put what you’re looking for into the app. Pay attention to how you feel about it.


When navigating dating apps safely, it’s important to lead with compassion and care. Learn about your limits by asking yourself how online dating makes you feel.

Read more about healthy online dating habits

Rule #3: Emotional Protections

As a psychotherapist in NYC, how to safely date my clients is often discussed. The more we relate to other people, the more we learn about what has the potential to hurt us and what we can do to protect ourselves from those hurts. Related to boundaries, emotional protections are boundaries we can set for ourselves. Once we name and identify our boundaries, we can use these safeguards to protect ourselves when someone crosses them. It’s important to make it clear that getting hurt is not a contingency or in any way a common practice in online dating, but can be protected against potential Damage is always the safest.

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An example of emotional protection can be consensual conversations. Using dating apps safely means affirming your independence and freedom when talking to other people. If you’re upset or uncomfortable with someone, you have full discretion to ignore, report, or block that person. You don’t have to force yourself to like or be liked by others. Instead of focusing on the levels of connection with others, focus on how to keep yourself safe. Be curious about what you like about others and whether others feel safe about you.

Green flags and red flags

You can recognize security measures by green and red flags. Green flags and red flags are common dating concepts that can help when figuring out how you feel about a potential dating partner or partners. Green flags can be seen as a “go” to start dating someone. Red flags can be seen as more of a precautionary signals to yourself, or they could be a “stop” when trying to date someone. Identifying your green and red flags can allow for more flexibility in boundaries and allow you to get more in touch with your authentic self. What are this person’s green and red flags? What are your green and red flags? Curiosity and diligence can help you use dating apps safely and without harsh judgement. Use this time to be investigative rather than critical. Everything is a learning experience!

support systems

After all, your support systems are the best emotional protection you can use. Your friends, family, and even your therapist are there to support you. Don’t dismiss her! When it comes to using dating apps safely, your support system is the most important resource. They are there to listen to you, hold space for you, and validate your experience. Not only are they emotional protection, but they can also be practical to ensure your safety. This can seem like sharing your location if you’re with someone you met online, have an emergency contact plan, or are able to plan an “off” if a date ever gets too awkward.

With all of these safety tips being shared, the most important lesson to take away from this blog is that the person who always knows your own merits of safety is it she. Trust yourself when using online dating apps and most importantly, have fun!

Are you interested in support around dating and relationships? Contact myTherapyNYC to find out which of our therapists is right for you!

How do you safely push your limits when dating online? Be sure to leave an answer in the comments below!


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