Online dating is faster, easier, and more convenient than going out and taking the time out of a busy schedule to meet new people. With websites like EHarmony, Match, and Christian Mingle single people are presented with an opportunity that is more accessible at any moment. Talking through an online dating service may be more comfortable than a first time face-to-face confrontation, but is it really a good idea? According to the PIP study on online dating, 10% of Americans have tried online dating. Of that 10%, 23% have met a spouse or long-term partner. While online dating has been a positive experience for this growing number of people, caution is necessary.
The reality show “Catfish” on MTV is a perfect example of how unreliable online dating can be. In the show, Nev Schulman and Max Joseph help people who have been online dating determine if their significant other is being truthful. Unfortunately, most of the time the person gets “catfished”, and the relationships do not end up working out. A catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or another social media to create a false identity. This concept is concerning because anyone could be sitting at a computer or phone pretending to be someone they’re not.
In addition to unreliability, online dating can be exceedingly unsafe. An acquaintance of mine met a guy online and after talking for a few months they decided to meet in public. She was catfished because he ended up being much older than he had originally said. In broad daylight, he forced her into his car and took her to his house where he proceeded to threaten her. Luckily she got out of the situation, but it could have ended much worse.
Furthermore, another concern with dating online is insecurity. Relationships online tend to stay online for a while before they meet. Even then, they may live across the country. This distance causes distress because loyalty and trust are the main concepts of a relationship. Trust and loyalty are important in a relationship because without them the other person could be deceived. Someone’s significant other could be cheating or they could be less serious about the relationship. It seems to me that it has become so common to lie or cheat in a relationship that it is not looked at as a loss of moral values for most of today’s modern society, although it should be.
Another potential issue with online dating is personal appearance always seems to be more important than the information on someone’s profile. A newly released app called “Tinder” is a dating app where the user swipes through photos of potential men and/or women. There is not any other information about the person other than their name, picture, and age. In order to communicate with someone, each of the users have to “like” each other’s appearance, and then they have the option to message each other. The “like” concept could be misleading for people who are looking for a serious relationship and not just someone to go out and have fun with. Because the app is solely based on appearance, it seems to make users take it less seriously. Tinder also puts stress on how a person looks, but not who they actually are.
On the contrary, one of the best feelings is meeting someone from online for the first time. It’s an extremely rewarding feeling, and it’s exciting! But, not all first time meet ups go well. Switching from chatting online to chatting in person can be difficult for people. They could be shy or unsure of themselves. In some cases it happens to get extremely awkward for one or both of them. There also could be a lack of seriousness or connection in real life, even though connection was there while chatting via text or online messaging.
As one can see, not everything about online dating is bad; there are some benefits to it. It is easier to read through someone’s profile sooner and see if they could possibly be compatible, making the rejection process easier. Also skimming a profile takes the awkwardness out of approaching someone before they have really talked to him or her. On the other hand, online dating is not as secure as meeting someone the ‘old fashioned way.’ Similar to modern society norms, just because it is popular doesn’t make it a good idea.
If you are currently online dating or planning to do so, there are some things to keep in mind to stay safe. Try not to share personal data with the person until you have built a solid foundation of trust with them. Proceeding slowly and listening to your instincts will help you stray away from scammers. Also, always meet in public and do not leave with the other person unless you are comfortable doing so. Lastly, always tell someone where you are going if you are meeting someone for a date. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.