The on-line dating system, or simply on-line dating, is a method that allows anyone, singles, couples, or groups to interact with each other and communicate within virtual space, usually with a view to initiating a love or sexual relationship. Internet-aware services usually offer the possibility of establishing relationships that are uninsured or concrete, through personal computers and mobile phones.
Types of on-line dating sites
On-line dating services require certain information from the user to find people considered compatible with age, gender, interests, location, etc. Most sites allow members to upload personal photos and browse other users’ pictures.
Such sites can offer additional services, some for a fee, such as video calls, telephone conversations, and chat.
Certain sites offer free registration, but they can provide services that assume a monthly fee.
Most sites allow access to a high number of people from different social and cultural backgrounds, and people looking for different types of relationships.
Other sites may be specific, based on a specific type of members, interests, locations, or desired relationships so that each member can find it easier to socialize and find common points with others.
Certain genetic testing companies, along with several profile sites, promise to find suitable people to form a couple using DNA testing, invoking the benefits of biological compatibility.
These companies claim that greater bio-compatibility will automatically mean a better sex life, a lesser desire to deceive, a longer-lasting love relationship, and perhaps even healthier children.
Experts in the field are of another opinion. Dr. Rocio Moran, medical director of the Cleveland General Genetics Clinic, called this idea as ridiculous and said that the art and science of attraction is too complex to depend on just a few genes.
The virtual identity
A virtual identity is a social identity that an Internet user creates in order to be part of some online communities and various sites.
Although some people prefer to use their real names on the Internet, other users choose to remain anonymous, identifying themselves by pseudonyms, which sometimes reveal certain details in connection with their real data.
In some virtual contexts, such as forums, instant messages, and on-line multi-player games, users can choose to be virtual represented by an avatar, that is, a smaller image.
As users interact, each user builds a certain reputation that allows them to become or not trustful for the others.
Certain sites also use the IP address of the user to find it on the Internet, if it does not behave properly or violates any of the site’s rules.
The concept of virtual identity and the way it is influenced by constantly developing technology is the subject of many research in psychology and sociology.
The effect of on-line disinhibition is a convincing example, which refers to Internet-free behavior due to anonymity and the fact that users do not interact directly in real time.
The identities that people choose in the virtual social network are not necessarily trustworthy.
For example, studies in the field have shown that most people are lying when it comes to on-line dating services. In addition, behind an attractive avatar and exemplary behavior can hide suspicious people with dangerous interests.
So, it would be more than indicated to be very careful about the people you choose to reveal information with and personal details.
Benefits of virtual communities
A positive issue that is often discussed about virtual communities is that it allows everyone to come forward and be discovered without being afraid of being punished or fined, be it their character traits, behaviors of which they are interested, or the announcement of real details that were not known until then.
This freedom of expression offers new opportunities for the whole society, especially the ability of people to explore roles and situations of a sentimental and sexual nature that can be interesting and helpful once you have assumed a certain risk.
On-line identity has enabled all people to feel good in their skin as well as changing roles, some of these roles being able to highlight aspects of the user’s life that he is incapable of developing in his real, everyday life.
What do the statistics say?
According to a study conducted for The Sunday Telegraph, people who are nearing retirement or already retired are considered the most active and experienced of all those who hope to find an Internet partner.
The study showed that 62% of men and women over the age of 55 were registered in 2009 on a on-line dating site, compared with 21% for those aged between 18 and 24.
Also, people in the first group (55 years) met with a higher number of people on the Internet (an average of 8.2) and established even more relationships (on average 2.1) than people in other age groups.
In 2006, 6% of the Europeans used on-line dating sites, compared with 4% in 2005, so that the revenues of these European sites reached 243 million Euros.
In 2009, the number of Internet users exceeded 1 billion, and the online dating industry had profits of about $1,5 billion in the year in question.
Experts estimate that it is believed that this amount will increase by 10% each year.
The year that has just passed has brought less pleasant situations to the virtual dating space.
58% of the Europe’s inhabitants were victims of fraud in online meetings. Italians occupy the leading position with 72%, the Germans ranked second with 58%, then the French and the British with 55%, and the Dutch with 48%.
Also, in 2009, for single people who used a dating site, 33% formed a couple, 33% failed to initiate a relationship and 33% quit using online dating services.
At the same time, 92% of single mothers or fathers preferred to become acquainted with other dads or single mothers.
Online Dating: Pros.
- Accessible for everyone who want to meet a partner
- Easy to create an online dating profile
- Hundreds of online dating sites to choose from (some will ask for a monthly fee, while others are totally free)
- Socializing and meeting new people
- Having fun while chatting with various people who shares your interests
Online Dating: Cons.
- Some users may lie and offer false info about themselves
- There are also some cons artists that are using online dating sites just to steal personal information, credit card details, and to use these details only for money
- Some profiles might be false in order to attract more and more new members
- You never know what true or not, since the anonymity provided by the Internet will be used by some users to hide their true egos
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