Your favorite aunt might comfort you with the expression, “There are plenty of fish in the sea” after a bad breakup. But if you listened to the research presented by a guest speaker from Townhall II on November 26, you probably wouldn’t go to the dating app plentyoffish.com. It has a much higher prevalence of offenses than other free dating apps — as you can see for yourself with a little Googling, said Inola Howe, a senior at Kent State University who works for Townhall II in Kent. Townhall II provides a 24/7 Crisis Helpline (330.678.4357) and offers services including counseling.
As part of the Title IX Programming Series presented by NEOMED’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Howe’s talk focused on two aspects of online dating hazards: online stalking and free dating apps.
- If you get a weird vibe from someone, trust your gut. When people come to Townhall II for help, it’s common for them to say, “I knew something was off,” said Howe.
- Always tell a family member or friend where and when you are meeting someone who is a stranger. Meet them in public.
- Did you know? Answering a message on a dating app has been known to set people up for armed robbery, not a date. Be aware, and be cautious.
Spoofing and spyware:
Stalkers don’t tend to be very tech-savvy, said Howe. But there are a couple of intrusive technological developments we should all be aware of, just the same.
Spyware, a means of gathering private information from someone’s cell phone or computer, is illegal. Spoofing – when someone pays a service to have their phone call impersonate someone else (so that their call shows up on their prey’s phone as “Mom” rather than a stranger’s number, for example) – is not. Vigilance and a bit of skepticism are in order to keep yourself safe from both, said Howe.
The next presentations in the Title IX series will be in 2019. Watch The Pulse for announcements.
Townhall II 24-hour Crisis Helpline: 330.678.HELP
Townhall II walk-in services: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
155 N. Water St.
Kent, Ohio 44240