Online dating refers to an activity through which individuals socialize and get to know each other on the internet (Elisar 1). In developed countries, online dating has become a normal activity. In the UK, it is estimated that online dating sites attract up to 10 million users every month.
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The history of online dating can be traced back to the late 20th century when the internet was invented. When the internet was first introduced to the public, people used to communicate via chat rooms. With time, spammers and criminals invaded the chat rooms and compromised their usability.
It was not long before dating websites emerged to protect those who wanted to socialize on the internet. Currently, dating sites have attracted millions of users becoming one of the most preferred means of interacting with people on the internet. Despite its popularity, there are risks associated with using these services. This paper focuses on the merits and demerits of online dating with respect to dating in a more traditional way.
Unlike offline dating, online dating allows the user to interact with millions of people without having to travel. With offline dating, individuals have to travel across cities, regions, and sometimes countries. This is not only time consuming but also costly. It is estimated that using offline dating can cost an individual up to $100 in a single night. The cost is higher because it requires an individual to visit popular joints, bars, hotels, or nightclubs and have a snack or a drink.
Even so, there are no assurances that the time, attempts, and cash would yield a positive result. On the other hand, online dating will cost the user little or no money. Some sites charge little monthly fee whereas others charge no fee. The monthly fee charged by these websites are insignificant compared to the money spend on offline dating. Similarly, there are more risks associated with having to travel to meet strangers compared to meeting them online.
As suggested above, it is apparent that online dating increases the scope of search for those who are single. When singles join online dating sites, they get the opportunity to interact with millions of users. With offline dating, these people would not have interacted because they come from different offices, cities, regions, or countries. This implies that through online dating, singles can increase their scope of search.
Online dating increases the chances of individuals who might not otherwise get the chance to date offline. Individuals who are unable to attend social events or meetings regularly such as busy professionals, disabled, and single parents will find online dating sites useful unlike offline dating.
Similarly, individuals with small social circles such as tourists and recent divorcees will find online dating useful compared to offline dating. Other individuals who will find online dating useful are people who are shy, people who would like to know more about their friends before meeting them, and people who do not enjoy loud social situations associated with offline dating.
Another reason why online dating is preferred over offline dating is that it allows singles to meet other singles with equal interests with ease. Through offline dating, singles will have to date a number of other singles for them to meet like-minded partners. As such, those who have met their partners through offline dating attribute their success to fate. Through online dating, the success does not depend on fate because the service allows the users to filter their potential matches based on age, height, race, interests, and careers.
Equally, online dating unlike offline dating allows users to conceal their anonymity and have control over their relationships. In the society, there are individuals who are reluctant to let unfamiliar persons into their lives straight away.
Online dating will come in handy for such individuals because through it they can be able to control their relations without giving out too much information about themselves. Certainly, interacting online and finding strangers okay should not be considered as a guarantee that they are satisfactory. For this reason, the ability to control your privacy while interacting is appropriate.
Despite its popularity, there are some disadvantages associated with online dating with respect to offline dating. Unlike when dating through conventional ways, it has been established that most of the people using online dating sites are liars. They lie about their attributes, jobs, properties, salary, and their marital status.
Notably, it has been identified that men lie about how tall they are, while women down play their height. Similarly, Toma and Hanrock did a study on the physical appearance of those using online dating (Knox 135). In their study, they noted that the lesser the attractiveness of individuals, the higher their chances of enhancing their profile pictures on online dating sites. With the use of offline dating, such lies could have been eliminated.
Similarly, with the use of online dating some people have been able to lie about their marital status. Research shows that 30% of those using online dating are married and often lie about their marital status (Knox 136). There are instances where married men have been able to maintain several simultaneous online relationships with other women.
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These men managed to lie to several women and made wedding proposals to a number of them. Although the same situations can happen during offline dating, it should be noted that the extent of lies perpetuated through conventional dating is minimal and less severe compared to the lies perpetuated on the internet.
Another disadvantage associated with online dating is having unlimited number of options. On the internet, a soul searcher can find hundreds of options. The more the number of options, the less a user will be able to scrutinize each profile. Through offline dating, an individual’s option is limited.
This implies that he or she will have enough time to access the character of the potential partner. Equally, it has been found that many of those dating online have higher chances of breaking up compared to those dating through conventional ways. This can be attributed to the many options presented on online dating sites. Therefore, when hurdles arise in a relationship an individual will opt to dump his or her partner in favor of a better option.
Unlike through conventional dating ways, online dating increases the risk of meeting sex offenders and scammers. Because users can conceal their identities when using online dating, sex offenders find the sites attractive for their ill motives. These cyber criminals can overcome the security measures put by the owners of the website by using fake names.
Therefore, those using online dating sites should be weary of such individuals. They should not give out their home address, phone numbers, or other private details in a hurry. In general, there are a few risks of meeting sex offenders or scammers through conventional dating compared to online dating.
Another major concerned faced by those using cyber dates is security. Despite the fact that the owners of dating websites have put in place security measures, some cybercriminals can manage to crack them and steal information from their users. By obtaining the users’ email and passwords, cybercriminals can get access to the users’ messages. On the contrary, there is no security issue concerning personal information when an individual dates through conventional ways.
In conclusion, it should be noted that there are benefits and risks associated with online dating. Its advantages are online dating allows the user to interact with millions of people without having to travel, it increases the scope of search for those who are single, increases the chances of individuals who might not otherwise get the chance to date offline, and allows users to conceal their anonymity and have control over their relationships. Despite its popularity, there are some disadvantages associated with online dating with respect to offline dating.
Unlike when dating through conventional ways, it has been established that most of the people using online dating sites are liars. They lie about their attributes, jobs, properties, salary, and their marital status. Another disadvantage associated with online dating is having unlimited number of options. Similarly, online dating increases the risks of meeting sex offenders and scammers. Lastly, a major concerned faced by those using cyber dates is security.
Elisar, Shimrit. Everyone’s guide to online dating: how to find love and friendship on the internet. Oxford: How To Books, 2007. Print.
Knox, David. Choices in relationships: an introduction to marriage and the family. 11 ed. St. Paul: West Pub. Co., 2011. Print.