Go Online

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Go Online
Connecting Safely

So you've decide to build a profile and flirt using Web sites like SeniorPeopleMeet.com, SilverSingles.com or SeniorMatch.com. Here are some tips for posting and responding safely:

  • Use an alias or screen name; don't give out your real name.
  • Protect your contact information by keeping your phone number and address hidden.
  • Set up a separate e-mail account for dating site correspondence under your screen name; don't use your main e-mail.
  • Never exchange financial information with people you meet online.
  • Use discretion: Often what goes online stays online, and even under a pseudonym, you could regret posting a comment or picture later.

[source: Match.com]

Young people seem to be the forerunners in anything computer-related, but some recent studies show that people aged 74 and older are using social networking sites more and at a faster growing rate than any other age group [source: Shellenbarger]. Spending time online to chat with friends and share photos with kids and grandkids is one thing, but cyber-mingling on dating sites is another. A growing number of retirees have the technical know-how to blog, post, tweet and surf, but meeting people online still means using some non-technical language and methods: finding, introducing, flirting and asking out or "breaking up."

Online dating sites offer incredible opportunities for seeking out likeminded people without leaving home, and with age-specific, religion-specific and interest-specific options for searching, it's easier to narrow down the playing field, so to speak. Knowing why you're on the sites in the first place and letting others know what you're looking for is a good start. Some online connections are solely for long-distance friendships online, while others are centered in finding a long-term mate or casual dates for companionship. Being honest from the start about who you are, how you want to connect and what you look like will save you and other people lots of time and heartbreak. Being aware that not everyone will be honest is also important to remember!

If you do start finding men or women you'd like to meet in person, talk on the phone before meeting. Communications over e-mail and text are inadequate ways to really know someone, so try mixing up writing with phone calls to get a better sense of whether you're connecting well enough from a distance to close the gap.

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