Protect Yourself When Dating Online 

Cyber Dating...the New Normal?
by Whitley Waymon | Relationships | Monday, April 29, 2013


Relationships VERGE magazine online

While dinner and a movie has been the traditional way for getting to know a potential love interest, in the age of new media, it seems that the Internet and a social networking site has become the new standard for getting more acquainted. eHarmony, Match.com, BlackPlanet.com and of course, Facebook (to name a few) have become customary for exploring relationships and courtships. "Honestly, I feel that social networks have creatively changed the traditional way of asking a guy or girl out, it made it convenient," says Tawny, a college student from Florida. 

Dating sites are typically set up to suit different personalities and lifestyles. For a majority of those who choose to use dating sites, it usually means the start of a new love life. Although most dating sites are responsible for the start of successful relationships, marriages and dates, it's important to keep in mind that some users aren't always honest. Some people create fake profiles to attract attention or to find information they want to know. This may lead to breakups, humiliation or sometimes violence. 

For security, most dating sites are partnering and developing safety boards, teams and campaigns to ensure users of their sites are protected. For example, Match.com has joined the STOP.THINK.CONNECT and the National Cyber Security Alliance campaigns to promote safety for online dating. Also, the Internet Dating Safety Act N.J.S.A. 56:8-168 was designed to detect sex offenders, screen background history and protect registered visitors who participate in the dating sites by requiring Internet dating services to inform users whether or not criminal background checks are conducted and providing a safety awareness notification to its members. 

Anyone choosing to resort to online dating services are strongly encouraged to be cautious. "When you date online, you're dating an image, more so being sold an image...when doing it, do it with precaution," says Katisa L. Donaldson, MSW. On the other hand, while cyber dating has seemingly become the norm, there are others who still choose not to engage it. "The best relationships are unseen and unheard of and the Internet is not a place you would like it to debut first," says Sharee, a graduating MBA student from Florida. 

Photo credit: ©iStock/skodonnell 



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