Safety Tips For Parenting Partner “Dating”

We at FamilyByDesign care about our members – we want your experience on our site not only to be fun and enjoyable, but also safe. While FamilyByDesign is not a “dating” site in a traditional sense, there are still a number of “best practices” that our members should adhere to when communicating with prospective parenting partners. As you start your journey towards finding your parenting partner, please take some time to review these basic safety tips.

Keep Your Personal Information Personal.

Do not share any personal information with someone you have recently met online until you have had enough time to build a level of comfort with that person. Personal information that you should not share includes (but is not limited to) items such as:

  • Your full name
  • Your phone number
  • Your email addresses
  • Your place of work
  • Your home or work address

While we at FamilyByDesign encourage you to verify your profile with us to begin building trust and comfort with other users, we do not share this information such as your name with other members – and neither should you until you feel ready. Use our online messages, instant messaging (IM), and other communications tools to communicate with prospective partners until you feel ready to move the conversation off of FamilyByDesign.

Needless to say, you should never post your personal information in your online profile.

Keep Your Financial / Government Information Even More Personal.

Even when you feel that you’ve reach a level of trust with a prospective parenting partner to share some basic personal information such as your name or location, you should never share information that would provide access to your financial accounts or official government files. Information that should never be shared includes items such as:

  • Your credit card information
  • Any of your bank account numbers
  • Your social security number, drivers license number, or any other government-issued ID information

If you are ever asked for any of this or other financial/government information by a member online, please notify us immediately.

Never Send Cash or Payments!

This may seem intuitive, but we wish to reinforce that you should never send money to anyone you have met online. There are scammers all over the internet, and even the most moving of stories is to be met with skepticism. Remember also that wiring money is like giving someone cash – you cannot get it back. Please notify us immediately if you are ever asked to send cash or other payments to someone on our site.

Report Any Suspicious or Inappropriate Activity To Us Immediately.

You should remain alert for activities that strike you as suspicious.  Some examples of suspicious activities that should be met with heightened scrutiny are: asking for your home or work address almost immediately in an initial conversation; someone who contacts you from one profile and shortly thereafter contacts you from another one; someone who early-on suggests they want to provide you with extremely generous financial resources; someone who seems focused on a sexual encounter in relation to the parenting partnership; or someone who is contacting you from another country and wishes to move communications offline quickly.

Examples of inappropriate activity may include: spam or solicitation messages that you receive on our site; sending offensive or harassing messages; or sexually explicit messages or communications on our site.

Ultimately, you should use your best judgment as to what constitutes suspicious or inappropriate activity. If you feel that someone’s behavior is suspicious, please contact us immediately.  Better to be safe than sorry!

Consider a Video Chat Before Your First Offline Meeting.

Once you have reached a level of comfort where you feel ready for a more personal conversation that moves beyond online messaging and instant messages, we recommend the “interim” step of a video chat, if possible. An online video chat allows you to build additional comfort with your prospective partner before meeting offline. Services you may use for online video chat include Skype, Google Chat, Airtime, and many others.

Meeting Offline For The First Time – Important Safety Measures

So you’re ready to meet a prospective partner for the first time in “real life”? That’s terrific! Nevertheless, even if you’ve built up a significant level of comfort with your prospective partner before your first offline meeting, you should still take some basic safety steps before and during your first meeting:

  • Meet in a public place where there are other people around, such as a restaurant or cafe.
  • Tell at least one friend or family member where you are going, and who you are going to meet.
  • Have your own transportation to and from your first meeting – don’t have your prospective partner pick you up or drop you off.
  • Bring your mobile phone.
  • Don’t leave your bags or other items unattended.

If it makes you more comfortable, you should repeat these safety steps at subsequent meetings, until you feel they are no longer necessary.

Safety Tips for Long-Distance Meetings

If your prospective parenting partner is not based locally and long-distance travel is required for your first meeting, you should take similar steps to how you’d meet locally for the first time. Here are the steps you should plan to take in advance of your travel for a long-distance meeting:

  • Make sure you’ve informed at least one friend or family member where you are going, and that they have all of your information – including dates of travel, accommodations information, and the address, phone number, and other information of the person you are going to meet.
  • Stay at a hotel (or with a good friend), and do not initially provide your local accommodations information to your prospective parenting partner.
  • Provide for your own transportation during your visit – whether rental car, taxi, or public transportation.
  • Bring your mobile phone to your meetings.

Take Any Additional Safety Steps That Make You Feel Comfortable.

Ultimately, safety preparations are not only for your security, but also for your peace of mind. In addition to the safety tips we’ve listed here, you should add any additional safety measures in regards to your communications and interactions – both online and offline – with prospective parenting partners that make you feel more comfortable. Your prospective parenting partner is likely to appreciate your conscientiousness – and it provides a signal about how you’d approach the safety and security of your child!