It's safe to say that dating has changed a lot over the past few decades. Gone are the days of meeting someone in person and exchanging phone numbers or committing your number on a napkin with penmanship so sloppy it looks like you're drunk-dialing.  Nowadays, technology has changed the dating game. With so many safe dating apps and websites available to help you meet new people, it's easier than ever before to find someone that shares your interests in a safe environment for meeting singles.The world is now at our fingertips, giving us access to potential love interests 24/7 from anywhere in the world through these dating apps. And while this change may have made finding "the one" easier, it also introduced some new risks for singles looking for love online. We've compiled a list of safe dating apps as well as tips to avoid getting catfish by someone pretending to be who they really aren't!

Quick Guide:
- Never Do a First Date in Person. Get to know them digitally first. - -- Always Share Phone Location with a Trusted Friend the First Time Meeting Someone New.
- Never Give Out Birth Date or Phone Number: these are two critical pieces people need to track you.
- Do a Double Date. Leave immediately if uncomfortable.
- Did you know you can text 911?
- Record Digital Abuse. Always screenshot & screen record conversations.

1) Never Do a First Date in Person:
Dating experts recommend that you never do a first date in person. In the days of old, when dating was typically face-to-face and safe from catfish, meeting someone for dinner or drinks at a bar or going to their house may have been safe enough to make an initial assessment if they were "the one." But now we're all too aware of how easy it is for someone to pretend they're another person, so it's safe practice not to put yourself in that situation. Dating in the Digital WorldAfter you meet on a dating app or dating site it's important to STAY IN THAT WORLD. Stay in the online dating world and continue to get to know them.

After all, that's what dating is. There are plenty of people who have gotten to know each other over social media and there's nothing wrong with that. Do a video date. Play some games through facebook. Plenty of men and women have formed serious long term relationships with someone they met on Bumble, Lantern, Hinge, okcupid, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and even eharmony. In fact, by 2036 it's estimated that 50% of ALL long term relationships will begin online. Not to mention there are so many things to experience with your matches in the digital world: Check out our list of 10 virtual date ideas that are out of this world and sure to stimulate you mentally while you are getting to know each other.

2) When Meeting in Person -
Share Phone Location with a Trusted Friend: If you meet someone on a dating app and then do decide to meet in person, tell a trusted friend where the meeting is going to be. Dating needs to be safe and this way if something happens and you don't return after a certain amount of time or your safe word isn't answered when they call for help, they can automatically check your phones GPS to let them know what's going on. The Most Important RuleThe most important rule for online dating whether you meet on a trusted dating site or dating app or via facebook, tinder or bumble, always ALWAYS share your location with a friend before going out.

3) Do Not Give Out Your Phone Number or Birth Date:
It is mind numbing the personal information somebody can get from you from your phone number. Nowadays everything is tied to our phone. Your bank verification? Let's text your phone. Your reservation? Give them your phone number to verify it's you. Want to make a purchase online with your credit card? You guessed it, they'll need the digits and last four of that phone number in order for THAT safe transaction to go through. Don't give out this information online if you don't know who they are! Especially for dating! If someone is really interested in getting to know more about you, there are plenty of ways for them to chat with you.

Dating sites like Facebook, Hinge, Bumble, Lantern, Tinder, Eharmony, okcupid every dating app and dating site on Earth has built in communications, there's no reason to give out your phone number. The best dating apps will even have special functionality like disappearing messages or a timer on video calls to take the pressure off.

4) Have a Friend call you mid-date to check up on you.
Yes it might seem obvious to your date but who cares. Maybe even use your favorite social media accounts to send a friend a photo of where you're at. This is a safe dating practice and you have to make sure you're doing it right.

Bonus Tip: Code Words
Making sure you are safe is your number priority. Bonus tip is to set up some code words and get really under cover spy with it. But seriously it may seem rude now but in the moment, if you ever need it you're going to be very happy. It's a very safe measure to take and really easy to set up so why not give it a try? Set up anything you can to feel safe and ensure you are taken care of.

5) Do a Double Date :
After you meet someone on a dating app and have talked enough it's hard to know what to do next in the dating process. How do you go on a date without putting yourself in danger. Apps like Tinder, Bumble, Facebook, Lantern, Okcupid, hinge, EHarmony , all have built in safety features for women as well as ways to search social media accounts of potential matches to ensure they are serious before heading out on the date, but it's still scary taking that first step.We suggest you go on a double date:

The best way is to get a friend and their significant other to join you, that way you have a few friends as backup. This also can take away those first dating night jitters and let's you be more yourself since it's more of a group dynamic. This is also a great way to make sure someone fits into your social circle. You may be safe dating online but you should always take precautions. Set up code words with your friend or friends so they know if you are getting uncomfortable or an emergency arises.

6) Leave Immediately If You Feel Uncomfortable:
This is a tough one especially with dating. We have been raised to feel awkward and to never be rude. But the best dating practices ensure that the second you don't feel safe you get up and leave. Were you being silly? Maybe. Is it better safe than sorry? Of course it is. There are plenty of horror stories we hear from online dating apps and dating sites, especially the low effort dating apps like Tinder and bumble.

What if it's not safe to leave at that moment? There are many reasons it might not be safe. Maybe his friends arrive or you don't see an easy way out. Did you know if you hold down the side of your phone it will automatically call 911? Make sure to research the exact buttons for your phone but it's there and will make dating less anxiety provoking.

7) You can Text 911: Did you know you can text them?
Even the best dating scenarios can turn bad. There is no shame in wanting to leave that situation immediately. You have the right to be safe and secure especially when using dating apps, even if that means calling 911.

This is an easy thing to do if you don't feel safe and can't get out of the situation. Obviously the first choice always is to immediately remove yourself to safe environment but if you can't there is nothing wrong with pulling out your phone and texting 911. They will have your location and help will be on the way. Tell them it's someone you met on a dating app, make sure to screenshot profile information and all your conversations with the person immediately. This is backed up into the cloud so even if someone gets your phone the evidence is safe!

8) Choose the Right App:
Online dating has become incredibly hard but also incredibly diverse. Thanks to technology, no matter what kind of dating site you want there is a dating app or online dating site that will fit your needs. But with all that convenience comes a LOT of dating apps. Everybody is coming out with a themed dating app so sometimes it can feel overwhelming.

It's also important to know what is a "safe dating app" so make sure to read our "ultimate guide of dating apps" to find the right dating app for you. We break it down by 10 different dating apps categories (you want an astrology based dating app? We got four on the list to help you find the best dating situation you can.)

9) Digital Abuse
If you are on dating sites or dating apps and experience bullying or digital abuse remember that a screenshot is your best friend. You can video record your screen as well so people can't claim it was photo shopped.

The best dating apps and dating sites also have report functions that let you report the user to the admins. This will (hopefully) remove the person from circulation so other people don't fall prey to their abuse. Remember, dating, dating sites, online dating, dating apps can all be great places to find a serious relationship but they can also be dangerous if you don't treat them safely.

Safety, smart decisions and awareness are all key to a safe dating experience that really has the potential to lead to a serious relationship. If you're using dating apps like bumble or tinder we suggest really reviewing someone before ever meeting them in person and if you do, make sure to follow these online dating rules to ensure your experience on dating apps and dating sites is going to provide the best dating experience possible.

You've made it this far! We're glad that you found our list helpful. Now go out and find your match on some of the safe dating apps and dating sites out there :) (don't worry, they'll be careful too!). It's safe to say you're good to go now, and we can't wait for our next date!