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Safe swiping | Ways to stay safe when swiping on dating apps

While online dating can open up your options for finding someone right, personal safety advocates say there are some things you need to do before meeting up.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Swipe left, swipe right—that's how a lot of people are looking for love these days.

One woman in Lenoir City has been single for about 14 years. In hopes of finding love, she uses online dating apps. 

“So I've used Plenty of Fish, Tinder OkCupid. I've signed up for Bumble and Hinge before, but I didn't stay on there for more than a couple of days because I didn't like how it worked,” Michele Griffith said.

It may not be the old-fashioned way of meeting people, but Griffith said dating sites allow her to choose who she wants to talk to.

“If you don't want to talk to him, you don't have to. So you know, if you meet somebody in person, and they come and talk to you, you feel the pressure to talk back,” Griffith said. 

Griffith said dating online is full of ups and downs. The downside? People aren't looking for serious relationships. 

“So many people are looking for hookups. And they don't even try to hide it anymore,” Griffith said.

Data collected by the Pew Research Center shows that 30% of U.S. adults have used a dating app.

While online dating can open up your options for finding someone right, personal safety advocates said there are some things you need to do before meeting up for your first date.

“I would always examine the profile to see if it throws off any red flags that the person could be fake,” Scott Appalachian Industries sexual assault coordinator Anna Harness said. Scott Appalachian Industries is a non-profit organization pushing for the safety and wellness of everyone.

Those red flags could be having just one photo on their profile or leaving the bio section blank.

Harness also said doing some research wouldn't hurt either. 

“You might also want to look someone up to see if they have any kind of a Tennessee felony offender information record,” Harness said. 

Griffith has a few of her own safety rules. 

“So you know, dinner, lunch, whatever, but you're not coming to my house, I'm not coming to your house, right off the bat," Griffith said.

There are people like Griffith who have been single for a while. Some found love online.

 About 25% of Americans said they found a soul mate on an app. 

“I want somebody to spend time with. So if it leads to more, and if it leads to marriage, that's fine. If it doesn't, that's fine,” Griffith said. 

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