For some Americans, dating platforms were helpful in their effort to forge meaningful relationships. About 12% of Americans who used these platforms said they married or were in a committed relationship with someone they met through them.
However, many users also pointed out how these platforms foster crimes. For example, many users reported experiencing harassment or receiving unwanted explicit messages.
Whether it’s online or not, one can never be too sure when it comes to dating. Fortunately, we’ve rounded off some dating safety tips to help you in your romantic endeavor.
So, read on to learn how to avoid legal trouble while dating!
Use a Reputable Dating App
Since the first introduction of Tinder, online dating has boomed and become normal. However, the downside is that dating apps are continually tied to crimes such as cyberstalking.
Hence, if you are prompt on using online dating apps for dating, make sure that you’re at least using a reputable one. When we say reputable, we’re not only talking about how prominent the dating app is.
Frankly, no one dating app is 100% secure. Instead, we meant to encourage you to check out the safety features of a dating app first.
Check out the blocking and reporting features of the app too. You may come across users who might display inappropriate behavior. Under such circumstances, you’d want to be able to block or report the user from contacting you ever again.
It’s also best to opt for an app that gives you control over your profile’s visibility. Finally, you want to use an app that requires both people to have an interest before they can send messages. Such helps reduce unwanted messages and unwanted followers.
Be Wary of the Other Party’s Age
If you’re outside and you see someone you like, avoid immediate initiation of contact. There are instances where a person may appear as if they’re over 18 but are still minors.
First, make sure that you’re not approaching someone way younger than you. Otherwise, you might soon be hearing from law enforcement officials. The same is true for online dating, be upfront and ask for the other party’s age first.
If that person says they’re under 18, break it off. On the other hand, you might think, “Hey, it’s just flirting; what harm can it do?” For one, even if you don’t meet, such flirting can be legally considered an attempt at soliciting a minor.
Under Michigan law, soliciting a child can result in a four-year prison time. Fines of up to $4,000 are also very possible.
Further, you might also face federal charges if the minor is from a different state. Federal law provides harsher and more expensive charges for individuals who arranged a meeting via the internet with the minor intending to engage in any sexual activity.
You don’t even have to have physical contact with the minor for this charge to apply. The mere act of using the internet to arrange a meeting is enough to warrant this felony charge.
Sexting is when individuals send or receive sexually suggestive media via their phones. This media could include photos, videos, customized GIFs, and the like. This action is most common among individuals who are below 18 years of age.
Sexting is not prohibited by law if it’s between two consenting adults. However, note that sexting is most common among teenagers. This means that there is a high chance that you might be sexting with a minor.
The moment an adult engages in sexting with a minor, consciously or not, it becomes a crime. In addition, the possession or distribution of such contents of a minor can be a ground for child pornography. If convicted of this charge, you may face several years of prison and a fine of at least $10,000.
The reality is it’s practically impossible to verify the age of the party you’re communicating with online. Not unless you meet personally, but this, too, could lead to criminal charges.
Thus, complete avoidance of sexting is one of the best safe dating practices we can give you. If you receive such media from a minor, delete it and immediately stop communication. There are instances whereby minors, aware of the law, send them to make you legally liable intentionally.
How do you deal with such instances? For one, you need a reasonable attorney to help you defend yourself in court. Then, dig deeper into false accusations, sex crimes, and more on BaroneDefenseFirm.com.
Dating apps are become a hunting ground for prostitutes due to their accessibility. Most dating apps only require a person’s picture and a short bio, making fake information easy. Hence, it’s impossible to tell who is and isn’t a prostitute.
Your best defense is to be wary and speculative of every ping your get from a person. Often, prostitutes would take the initiative and start messaging you.
One good tell-tail is that their pictures will look provoking. Their photos are often made to appear as if it for a magazine. Moreover, if that person starts giving leading statements about sex for money.
If you continue to act upon such an invitation, you’ll be facing charges of prostitution. In Michigan, offenders will receive a maximum of 93 days imprisonment, a $500-fine, or both.
Always Meet in Public
Amidst its great benefits, this tip is one of the most neglected dating safety tips. Public dates or meetings help minimize pressure to engage in sexual acts. It also helps establish good intent should the other party accuses you of having malicious intentions during the meet-up.
Respect Your Partner: No Means No
As uncomfortable as it might be, you need to talk about where your interaction is about to head. Talking about consent helps prevent misunderstandings, sexual crimes, and legal liabilities.
If the other person clarifies that they want you to stop your advances, respect their wishes. Note that there’s a fine line between pursuing someone and stalking.
Stay Out of Legal Trouble with These Dating Safety Tips
These dating safety tips will not only help you stay out of legal trouble but will also lead you to a healthy eating lifestyle. Hence, keep these in mind when you start your romantic journey.
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