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Don’t worry about date risk, cellphone offers extra cover 

New York: Whether it was a match made online or a love that developed over the telephone, a new iPhone application is designed to make that first date or meeting safer.
    An estimated 20 million people visit online dating sites each month in the US, with activity usually spiking in the build-up to Valentine’s Day. “People are Internet dating now and you don’t know the character of these people,” said Linda Smith, of Chicago-based Date Tracker Alert LLC, which developed the app.
    Although love may be in the air, the dating safety app, myDate-TrackerAlert, aims to remove some of the risk of that first face-to-face encounter. “The person with the app can maintain their dating privacy,” Smith explained in an interview. “But when you need help, when you don’t check in, they (your emergency contact) have the information that will help them find you.”
    The app sends out an email or text to up to four chosen emergency contacts with the name, time and loca
tion of the date if the app owner does not check in by a predetermined time by clicking an ‘I’m OK’ button on the app. The date’s email and cellphone number can also be included in the app and up to four people can be listed as emergency contacts.
    “Four alerts can go out,” Smith explained. “You actually are better off that way because you have more of a chance that someone will try to find you in a timely manner.”

 Omshankar Tiwari