If you live in one of these states, online dating is WAY more dangerous (so be careful)

We live an age of constant online presence, so it’s almost impossible to look at the possibilities of dating without at least thinking about apps like Tinder or websites like OkCupid. Hookup and dating apps have become such popular dating tools that now setting up a profile is as easy as connecting your Facebook account.

But just because online dating is easier than ever, it doesn’t mean it’s safer than ever. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you or your single friends may be gunning for a date with a special someone or just someone. Before searching for that someone on Tinder or Bumble, check out this new study ranking the safest and most dangerous places for online dating.

The study found that Washington D.C., Alaska, and Louisiana were the most dangerous places to date online while Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire ranked in as the safest. The study looked at a number of factors to be considered as “dangerous” such as STD rates and violence, finding that D.C. had nearly double the violent crime and STD rates as Alaska, which came in second.

The study also looked at sex education in each state, finding that Vermont and Maine, the two safest states for online dating required sex education in school and taught students about contraception, while neither D.C. nor Alaska taught either.

Another recent study from the Guttmacher Institute found that between 2006-2013, there was a significant decrease in sexual education for young men and women. The study found that there was a drop in the percentage of teens who were taught about contraception, birth control, and even STDs.

Leslie Kantor, PhD, MPH, the Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, pointed out the importance of sex education for sexual health. She said,

“We know teens need sex education to stay healthy, yet the United States is moving in the wrong direction. Sex education can make a real difference in adolescents’ overall health and well-being. The fact that young people are being deprived of information critical to their sexual health is unacceptable. At a time when there are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases every year and rates of unintended pregnancy among teens remain the highest of any industrialized country, the fact that schools are teaching less about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS, and saying no to sex is alarming.

While it may not seem like online dating and sex education are related, Dr. Aditi Gupta Jha, MD, Sexual Health Specialist at JustDoc, pointed out,

“With online dating apps like Tinder, OkCupid etc. sexual contact amongst teenagers has increased significantly. Over 60% of the cases of STDs we get are males and females aged sixteen to twenty-five years. Online dating is definitely exacerbating the trend.

So for those looking for love this Valentine’s Day, think a lot about your own sexual health — and maybe avoid Tinder and just buy yourself a box of chocolates instead.

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