Safe Online Dating

Online dating has moved beyond dating sites such as,, and and is more readily available through apps such as Tinder, Grindr, Bumble, and Mutual. Additional social media apps – Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook – are also being used to meet others online. Our society quickly went from meeting people in an elevator to meeting individuals online without having a conversation about how to do so safely. The information below can help you protect yourself and others while navigating online dating.

Online Dating Graphic

Tips For Staying Safe Online

Note: It is NEVER your fault if someone you meet online chooses to harm you. Stalking, sexual harrassment, sexual assault, and relationship violence are crimes and violate USU policy.

  1. Get consent for all activities: messaging, sexting, explicit photos, sexual videos, etc.
  2. Sexual activity, photos, videos are not owed to anyone because you “matched" or paid for a date.
  3. Communicate your expectations clearly. Are you looking for a relationship, to casually date, or are you looking for someone to have sex with? It's also important to clarify the expectations of the person you are speaking with. 
  4. Talk to the person you've met online over FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype before you meet them in-person.
  5. When meeting someone for the first time, meet in a public space and drive yourself so you can leave if anything makes you uncomfortable.
  6. When meeting someone you met online, let your friends know where you are going and how long you intend to be gone.
  7. Trust your instincts! If something about the individual you are meeting or the situation you are in doesn’t feel right, you have the right to leave.
  8. Be an Upstander! Look out for those around you and encourage friends to stay safe online. If you or your friends think someone’s behavior violates policy, report it to USU.
  9. Remember that you have the right to feel safe. You have the right to communicate what you are and are not okay with without any justification. You have the right to your boundaries being respected.

Understanding Consent

Bottom line, consent is about respecting the bodily autonomy and rights of another person. Consent is required for more than just sexual activity. Consent must also be present when exchanging photos and messages, meeting in person, holding hands, kissing, touching, etc.

Consent must be COHERENT, WILLING, and SPECIFIC. Consent means TALKING ABOUT SEX. Consent is not just the LACK OF A “NO.” Consent is an outward demonstration of YES. For more information visit

Warning Signs in Profiles

There are often warning signs that something isn’t quite right. 

  1. No name on the profile.
  2. No face in any pictures on the profile.
  3. Only one photo of themselves.
  4. Multiple group photos, and no photos of just themselves.
  5. Multiple photos with an “ex.”
  6. Bios with messages about exchanging money for sexual activity.
  7. Bios with messages associated with gender-based violence.

Warning Signs in Messaging

  1. Persistent about meeting in person.
  2. Continuously messaging after you have expressed disinterest.
  3. Asking details about your location.
  4. Asking to share location or continuously tracking your location.
  5. Sending explicit photos without consent.
  6. Contacting you through other means (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) when there isn’t a match.
  7. Making fake accounts in an attempt to contact you.

Important Resources

How to Report Online Abuse: A Victim Resource Guide
Where to Report Online Abuse: A Victim Resource Guide
Deepfakes: A Victim Resource Guide
OnlyFans: A Safety Resource Guide