Saturday, 18 January 2020

Stay safe! My top tips for staying safe when using gay dating and hookup apps like Grindr


So - how do you avoid ending up in some guy's dungeon all tied up? How can you stay safe when using dating and hookup apps like Grindr, Tinder, Blued, Badoo and Romeo? 

NEVER:

  • Give out your phone number. Use snapchat if you want to chat outside an app like Grindr and Tinder, since it works by exchanging usernames not phone numbers.
  • Tell anyone any details which could be used to identify who you really are
    • This includes handles on social media! 
  • Tell anyone your last name. If you want, also make up a first name.
  • Tell anyone your address or use the "send my location" feature available in some apps
  • Give out any identifying details like where you work, who you work for, or which gym you go to

CONSIDER:

  • Whether you show your face on your profile photo or not. In some countries this is not a good idea.
  • The moment you share photos of yourself with other app users they are in the public domain. Keep that in mind.
  • Sending an expiring photo. If you have the paid Xtra subscription you can now send 5 expiring photos per day. With Unlimited you can send as many as you like (but that option is pricey!). With an expiring photo it will expire after 10 seconds of viewing. To do this when chatting, tap the photo you want to send and you will then see a yellow banner like this:




      Then tap the "clock" icon to change the image to an expiring one:

       

            Your image can now only be viewed once for 10 seconds.                    The person receiving cannot screen shot it.  The recipient                   gets a message like this:


      


           A great bonus is that this also gets rid of all the "picture                       collectors" that you get on Grindr - users who chat you up,               ask for your photos, then block you.
  • Try a video call! Many of the apps including Grindr, Romeo and Tinder now offer the ability to do a video call. Even if it's just for 10 seconds it's a great way to verify that the person you are talking to is real - and look like their photo! In Grindr you now see an icon like this - just tap it to call the user.



  • Installing a personal safety app on your phone which will call your friends, parents or emergency services when activated and send them your location. One of these is called Hollie Guard [App Store] [Play Store] but there are also other similar apps.

ALWAYS:
  • Stay as anonymous as you can for as long as possible
  • Be very careful about sharing your photos
  • Meet someone in a public place
  • Trust your gut feeling. If something feels off, don't go. 
  • Be conscious that some of the location-based apps like Grindr, Romeo and Hornet shows where you are. Not down to the metre, but you can still pinpoint it down to a small geographical area like a shopping mall. 
  • Hooking up? Then give out a street address that is near you, meet there, check the guy out, and then go to your place
  • Discuss safer sex before you meet. Clearly state what you expect and what you won't do. If you are not comfortable with bareback, say that. Protect yourself and be safe.
  • Be clear about what you want and you are expecting. Be explicit and precise upfront.
  • If you can, let a friend know you are going to meet someone from an app. Arrange for a check-in time and for your friend to raise the alarm if you have not checked in by that time. 
  • Leave with a fully charged phone and share your location with a friend.
  • Do a video call with the person beforehand, even if it's just for a minute, to verify that who you are meeting is actually the person on the photo you received. Some users have stolen profile photos. Many apps now have built-in video calling - make use of it!
  • Use an app like SnapChat or Telegram if you need to exchange photos or videos. SnapChat is not tied to your phone number, so you are not exposing your number - and chats are deleted once read. Remember to turn on "ghost mode" so people can't see your location on the snapmap!
  • If the guy you are meeting looks young, insist they bring ID. No exceptions! If they come up with excuses they are likely underage. Protect yourself from any issues in the future.
  • Block or unmatch guys you don't feel comfortable chatting to
  • Be very careful if using a "gay" dating app in countries where same-sex relations is illegal or "difficult". Watch out for stings. For example: after you meet a guy someone else (including the local police) could be waiting around the corner expecting to be bribed. Or, you may have vigilante gangs waiting to beat you up when you arrive at the meeting location.
  • If you are accommodating don't leave any valuables lying around. 

1 comment:

  1. I have met hundreds of boys in Thailand and brought to my rented apartment or hotel room, and a friend did the same to his condominium. Whereas another friend never brings anyone (White friends included) to the room his company provided for him to live in.

    I readily exchange phone numbers and social media profiles with users I have a sexual interest in, never a problem in over a thousand contacts in Thailand.

    The biggest issue is fake profiles, i.e. profile picture is not the profile owner. Or poor pictures. If in doubt, videochat. One could say, always do a videochat before meeting someone. Saved me many an effort, waste of time and money. I got this idea late, it was by accident, the boy I was going to meet wanted a videochat and I saw that he is a fatty (I like slim boys, on the pictures he looked okay by my standards, but on videochat fat). Make an excuse, saved me an hour of my time, a kilometer walking, money for a drink at the bar/restaurant we were going to meet.

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