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 Finding Love Online: Is It Possible?

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PostSubject: Finding Love Online: Is It Possible?   Finding Love Online: Is It Possible? Icon_minitimeThu Sep 01, 2011 2:59 pm

There is no denying that in this modern era of information and technology, online dating has become increasingly popular. Thanks to successful advertising campaigns, including many featuring very humorous commercials, some online dating sites have nearly achieved household-name status. The question is: Can you really find love online?

According to a study conducted by Iowa State University, between 2007 and 2010, 17 percent of couples who were married met on an online dating site. This would certainly seem to indicate that it is possible to find love online. However, these statistics do not reveal the entire picture. Upon closer examination, there are trends and characteristics-some of them unique to online dating-that can actually make it much harder to find true love online. In addition, there are very real and serious dangers that must be considered.

One significant challenge to finding love online is the honesty factor. When two people meet face-to-face, there are certain things that each individual can immediately ascertain about the other, such as general appearance and age. While it is certainly possible for an individual to hide or diminish certain features, when two people are standing face-to-face, there are practical limits to how much an individual can hide who they are. That is not to say that every person who uses an online dating site is trying to lie about themselves. At the same time, however, it is only natural to want to make the best impression. Without the equalization of an in-person meeting, it is very easy for that desire to lead to exaggerations, or worse yet, outright lies.

Another challenge with online dating is truly getting to know the other person. According to the Iowa State University study, newlywed couples who met online had an average courtship period of 18.5 months, as opposed to 42 months for couples who met in more traditional ways. While there is certainly no standard rule regarding how much time is enough time to develop a lasting relationship, it stands to reason that the more time is spent, the more two individuals will truly know each another. This, in turn, can result in a stronger, longer-lasting relationship.

No discussion about online dating would be complete without an honest evaluation of potential dangers. Out of the more than 1,000 online dating sites currently active, only a handful protect their members by doing background checks, according to ABC News. The organization Working to Halt Online Abuse (WHOA) receives approximately 50 to 75 online harassment and cyberstalking cases per week, according to the organization's Web site. WHOA warns that, in many cases, the individuals being harassed do not even know the identity of the harasser, making it all the more difficult for law enforcement to provide any relief. That anonymity, and the difficulties of bringing such individuals to justice, creates an environment where criminals, predators and con artists can prey on unsuspecting victims with little concern of being caught

While there is no denying that it is possible to find love online, the fact is, doing so is wrought with challenges, and dangers, that traditional dating is less susceptible to.

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