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Internet Dating Risks and Benefits
Home and Family Author: Cathy Taylor
Internet Dating Risks and Benefits

Online dating provides a relatively anonymous environment to meet people you otherwise would never come across on a daily basis and running a criminal background records check only makes common sense. Many people are just too busy to get out and meet other people, and even more just don't care for the bar scene any more. Others have difficulty because of shyness or a certain level of insecurity, and others have just dumb bad luck when it comes to meeting interesting people. In any case, you need to know how to protect yourself online from predators, criminals and frauds.

Online dating services provide a pool of people who share your interests and that can be a really good start. But if your online dating website does not screen their users by doing a criminal background records check, then you need to do it yourself! Then by using photos, profiles, online videos and psychological matching algorithms, you can improve your odds of finding that special someone and more importantly, quickly weeding out the ones they are not interested in meeting.

These services provide a targeted audience of people interested in meeting someone for a romantic relationship or just a friendship. Social networking sites like MySpace have their valid uses. But it's like milling among people in a huge crowd, most of who are there for reasons other than dating. Online dating services fill a need and their continuing success shows that the good ones can earn money despite many new, free venues for Internet interaction.

But there are risks associated with online dating services - a downside that people might not like to talk about but that everyone exploring them should take into account.

There are, of course, minor risks; such as you typically pay money for online dating services and you in fact may fail to get your money's worth. The membership may not include anyone you are interested in. In addition, you may have to sift through lots of people who are neutral or worse to find that special someone. That can be a drag but doesn't put you in a potentially dangerous situation.

It is always recommended that if the dating service does not routinely do background checks on their clients, that you personally run one on anyone you are considering meeting.

As a start to a relationship, it's still somewhat 'unnatural' to go from meeting someone online, to meeting them in person. People are social animals and communicating face-to-face is still much more effective than any other form but also somewhat more threatening. Getting over that initial hurdle is sometimes nerve-wracking.

Contact online is mostly written and a lot of people are not great writers. But almost everyone can carry a conversation on the phone or in person. That means the initial contact of an online dating service takes a little bit of effort and skill. Putting your best foot forward in written form takes time and thought.

But there are other, potentially more serious, risks as well.

The anonymity of online dating services represents a high value. It provides a safe enclosure in which to explore another person with low risk. But because it's online and anonymous, it's possible for people to engage in a type of fraud. Fake photos or descriptions, tailored interests and achievements and other forms of dishonesty can take place.

That means that whenever you consider meeting someone in person you have some verification to do. You should always take precautions. As stated above, background checks are essential. Especially if you are a woman meeting a new man, do NOT make the mistake of assuming that it couldn't happen to you. It could and it does every day. Don't be naïve in wanting to trust a stranger. It never hurts to check first you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The fact that Internet dating services continue to thrive suggests that the benefits outweigh the risks. Just be sure to protect yourself first by running a potential date's criminal background records easy and cheap.

Total Views: 928 | Approx word count : 651 | 09/09/2010
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