Online Dating Magazine, a watchdog publication for online daters, issued a warning today to single parents who use online dating services. Online Dating Magazine warns parents that some sex predators or sex offenders may be using services to search for new victims.
“There are some sexual predators and sex offenders who specifically use online dating services to target single parents in order to get to their kids,” says Joe Tracy, Publisher of Online Dating Magazine. “It doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen.”
Online Dating Magazine’s warning was issued after a convicted child molester was caught in a sting operation, emailing a supposed mother of two kids.
Parents for Megan’s Law, a child advocacy group, received anonymous emails that Michael Bradley, a convicted sex offender in New York, was using Match.com. As a result, the group set up a fake profile of a mother of two boys and emailed Bradley. He responded, breaking a court order not allowing him to seek romantic relationships online. As a result his computer was confiscated and Bradley now faces the possibility of having his parole revoked.
“It is the responsibility of consumers to protect their safety and that of their families, so do not rely on the assurances of dating sites that attempt to screen out predators,” said Dr. James Houran, spokesperson and feature columnist for Online Dating Magazine. “The best protection is to use your head in matters of the heart. Do not get so caught up in the excitement of online dating that you are not constantly alert – instead assume everyone online is a potential predator.”
Online Dating Magazine has issued the following six tips that it recommends single parents use when using an online dating service:
- Never post photos of your children in your profile or anywhere online.
- Don’t talk about your children in your profile.
- Don’t mention what gender your children are.
- If you’re dating someone, wait several months – until you are more serious – before introducing your date to your children.
- Run a background and sex offender check on the person you’re dating before introducing them to your children.
- Most online dating services have the option to list whether you have children. Because honesty is important, go ahead and list it, just don’t mention your children anywhere else in your profile.
Online Dating Magazine urges online daters to take a cautious approach to online dating, even though it is generally reconized as a safe way to meet people.