For most moms, being able to meet moms online is a godsend. It’s totally normal these days to connect with people online before meeting in person – just look at the popularity of online dating sites – and especially helpful for anyone with a busy schedule. Chatting or exchanging messages and emails can be the perfect way to get to know moms you might not have ever met otherwise.
That said, you should always play it safe when you meet moms you got to know online or when finding playdates for your kids using the Internet. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself while making friends at Mom Meet Mom and elsewhere:
Confidentiality rules. If you’re using sites that require signing up to use forums or a messaging service, read the posted privacy statement to make sure they won’t share your personal information with anyone. (Mom Meet Mom never shares your personal, identifying info!)
Image counts. Think of how you’re portraying yourself on your public profile – that includes how you describe yourself, what photos you post, and how you respond to other people. Veering into provocative territory can invite criticism and worse, make it hard to make new friends.
Keep it incognito. Never, ever post your address, phone number, or other identifying/contact information on a public profile. That’s the sort of thing you should only share with someone when you have built up a certain level of trust by chatting and exchanging messages.
There’s safety in skepticism. People can write anything on an online profile! If your gut is telling you that someone doesn’t seem legit, trust those instincts and don’t share your personal information or schedule a meeting.
Report fakes, frauds, and other predators. If you know for sure that another user is taking advantage of a site, let the admins know. That’s what they’re there for, and you’ll be helping a service you like stay great.
Remember, there are dishonest people online and off, so it pays to protect yourself and your family whenever you meet moms for the first time. We here at Mom Meet Mom are committed to helping you do just that, but ultimately it’s your responsibility. Make smart decisions, don’t take risks, trust your intuition, and you’ll have a great time meeting moms in person and in our forums.