Online dating has its critics, many of whom are outspoken in their detraction of the Internet as a valid dating platform. Some of the reasons people focus on the negative aspects of online dating are associated with the fact that this type of social interaction is a product of the technological age. Internet dating is seen by some as being “unromantic”, and reduced to mathematical equations and “attraction probabilities”. Old-fashioned chemistry between people has been replaced by computer screens and emails.
To a large degree this criticism is unfounded. Dating online is booming in popularity, and more and more safeguards are being put in place to protect people.
Nevertheless, there are some real and tangible negative aspects of dating on the Web, and anyone using this medium as a way of meeting people should be aware of these issues and bear them in mind. Here are three of the main problems concerning Internet dating, and ways to deal with them.
Women and men who use online dating services have personality types that cover the entire spectrum. And that includes people who are extremely lonely, vulnerable and at times even desperate. These people are looking to find someone as quickly as possible, and can fall prey to unscrupulous con artists. There are many cases of people being deceived by scammers who pose as potential online love interests, but who turn out to be thieves, liars and cheats.
Of course, this scenario can play out in the real world, but sadly it is more common online. The main reason for this is that the crooks are able to hide behind a veneer of anonymity. The very clever ones have ready answers for whatever question a suspicious person may have, which makes it doubly hard for vulnerable people to be safe using online dating sites.
The best defense for a vulnerable person in this regard is to enlist the help of at least one friend to help in the screening process. And, most importantly, those who are easily preyed upon need to observe the golden rule of giving no sensitive information away online about their personal details and finances.
As we noted above, online dating takes away a person’s ability to make judgements about another person based on certain behaviours that can be hidden behind an online “barrier”. Anthropologists have proven that, in real world communications, body language can equate to around 90% of communicative input. That means it is much harder to make judgements about people when communications are restricted to electronic means. Webcams and video dating (video chat) has changed this a little bit, however full body-language signals can still be disguised or concealed when people choose not to use webcams in full light, or if they do not put themselves fully in the view of the camera.
In other words, online dating can sometimes be reduced to SMS, emails and other text-based communications, which takes away a lot of the fun and, indeed romance, of the courting process that has always been a traditional part of dating.
Sure, millions of people use online dating to meet people, and a large percentage of these are happy to admit the fact. But many are embarrassed by admitting their membership of a dating site. Internet dating is still viewed by a large segment of the community as being for losers who cannot find a partner in the real world. Some experts predict, though, that this negative aspect of online dating will disappear in the next few years as the Internet becomes the standard way for women and men to meet, rather than the exception.