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Online dating

What is online dating?

Online dating is dating using the internet.

There are loads of dating websites out there for all ages, but it’s important that you only use dating websites for young people.

People set up profiles telling others about themselves and upload photos.

If you like the look or sound of someone by reading their profile, you can send them messages and start chatting to get to know each other.

Some people find it easier to type their true feelings rather than speak about them face-to-face, so it can be a very honest way of getting to know someone.

Remember, that it’s also much easier for people to lie online than in person so don’t always believe that the person you’re chatting to is 100% who they say they are.

Don’t forget, photos can be fake too!

Some people set up profiles to target young people and try to cause them harm.

For more information on this, see our page on Grooming (scroll down).

Is it safe?

The internet can be a great and safe way to meet new people – if you are sensible.

“I’ve met someone online who sounds perfect for me, we’ve been chatting every night for three weeks and they want to meet up, I can’t wait!”

Wait! Slow down there! It might feel like you know this person inside out, but you need to stay safe…

Before you do anything, read our top tips.

Top tips

  • Never give out any personal details like your address or where you go to school or college.
  • If the person you’re chatting to gets moody, starts to say nasty things or is trying to make you do something you’re not happy about, cool things off a bit.
  • If you decide you want to meet up, pick a public place to meet and tell someone. Never agree to go to someone’s house or invite them to yours.
  • Tell an adult you trust if you’re going to meet your online friend and always take your mobile with you.
  • If the person you meet doesn’t look or seem like the person you’ve made friends with online, leave as soon as you can and tell an adult.
  • Don’t ever want to meet up with them? That’s fine too. Lots of people prefer to keep a relationship online only.

Need some more help?

Would you like more help, or do you want to ask a question? You can email us (

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