DATE SAFE: APPS MAKE MEETING EASY, BUT PROTECT YOURSELF

Following the sudden disappearance of 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard in Auburn, college students said they’re taking a hard look at their own safety when it comes to using dating apps.

Students and young adults often use dating apps like Tinder and Bumble to meet new people, but Tuscaloosa Police Lt. Teena Richardson said it’s important to remember not everyone has good intentions.

“If you want to meet (someone) for the first time, meet them in a crowded location,” Richardson said. “Have someone you are familiar with there just in case you feel uncomfortable and things aren’t going the way you think they should go.”

Another option is telling a friend where you are and who you’re with, and checking in with that friend regularly during the date.

Richardson said a simple look at social media can help determine if a potential date is who they say they are.

Although plenty of young adults find great people through dating apps, it’s important to get to know who you’re talking to before you meet.

“I don’t think apps are inherently bad,” said dating app user Katherine Read. “I met my boyfriend on Bumble, but I just think we need to be so aware of what is going around us at all times. It is just scary right now out there. You never know what is going to happen. You don’t want to end up as the next news story.”

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