Is Online Dating for you? The risks and benefits of searching for love online.

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risks and benefits of online dating

People are better off sticking to the traditional way of dating and actually meeting the person face to face before starting a relationship. Unfortunately, consumers don't have a lot of options for evaluating the security of dating services, according to Jonathan Mayer, a computer scientist and lawyer affiliated with Stanford's Center for Internet and Society. Initial contact is written, not seen or spoken.

in this less than perfect world.

Appearance can help you determine whether the person is someone you want to correspond with. Ask a man for a photo. For the cost of a membership, dating websites allow you to get to know the person online before you ever meet. And while Adult FriendFinder is on one extreme of the burgeoning digital romance market, the whole sector is based on information about users' most intimate desires. Online dating sites allow you to specify your intentions right from the beginning so you can find people looking for the same thing as you. Black winged eyeliner, thick false eyelashes and deep smoky eyeshadow have made up most of the looks. This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals.

The hack, first reported on by British outlet Channel 4 News last week, reportedly resulted in the information of nearly 4 million members of Adult FriendFinder leaking onto an online forum frequented by hackers. Even being revealed as a member of Adult FriendFinder might be embarrassment enough for some: The site is, as its name suggests, "adult" in nature.

Don't visit it on your work computer. Using the Internet for love, or at least sex, is a becoming a staple of modern life. More than one in five Americans between ages 25 and 35 have used an online dating site or app according to Pew Research.

And while Adult FriendFinder is on one extreme of the burgeoning digital romance market, the whole sector is based on information about users' most intimate desires. Mainstream site OKCupid, for instance, asks users to fill out quizzes that cover everything from their sexual proclivities to drug habits. It risks wholesale exposure of information in an era when it is basically impossible to put the data genie back in the bottle.

What users should really take away from the incident is that the privacy of the information they share with these sites is only as good as their security practices. And, unfortunately, there's evidence that Adult FriendFinder isn't the only site that has issues in that department. Just last month, Ars Technica reported that Match. Unfortunately, consumers don't have a lot of options for evaluating the security of dating services, according to Jonathan Mayer, a computer scientist and lawyer affiliated with Stanford's Center for Internet and Society.

And the explosion of services in the market means that start-ups may not be putting users' privacy first. Online dating services also can be a good option if you frequently travel for work or have children or other responsibilities that make going out to meet people difficult. What's more, you're not confined to the area where you live. You can search the world, since you have international access via the Internet.

And you can meet people without fear of commitment. Online dating services provide chat rooms that allow you to get to know someone before you exchange photos or phone numbers. In addition, most sites allow the user to place a photo along with a personal ad, and some even have audio capability so you can listen to your potential soul mate's voice. While this may sound a bit superficial at first, Internet dating actually takes the whole "meat market" aspect out of the dating process because it allows you to weed out the players.

With so many online dating services out there, picking one can be difficult. Ellen advises people to do their homework. Shop around until you find one that best suits your particular needs. Narrow your search by looking at services that specialize in matching people with similar interests.

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risks and benefits of online dating

They provide a targeted audience of people interested in meeting someone for a romantic relationship. You want to make sure you look to your safety, both physical and psychological.

risks and benefits of online dating

Pair of NIU gymnasts awarded. Ellen advises people to do their homework.

risks and benefits of online dating

Why would they not go to a family member or a friend first? Edit Article Add New Article. But there are pitfalls unique to the medium. Minimalist house plant DIY. There are even some free dating services. List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning.