The dangers of the cyber world
While venturing into the wonderful world of the web, it is safe to assume that not everything is as it seems. The hot chick you see on Facebook could in reality be a creepy, elderly man looking to rendezvous in a secluded location and leave with a happy ending. Even your friend asking for money and help from a foreign land could be a simple computer looking to take all the money you have, as well as your precious identity. Much like Alice on her adventures through Wonderland, people have to understand that the online world is merely a reflection of the reality we live in. Therefore, when it comes to using the web as a virtual pool of fish for your dating life, people need to comprehend that not everyone looking to make a connection should be taken at face value. Yes, they may seem like the perfect catch, however when given hours to make a personal profile, even a mass murderer can transform him or herself into the ideal mate. Simply put, it is extremely easy to lie, and to make yourself appealing to anyone and everyone; and that right there is when things begin to get complicated.
Sites such as Match.com and the popular OkCupid allow users to window shop for the hottest person they can find while scrolling through numerous profiles of desperate hopefuls. The scary truth, however, is that all you need is a hot picture and some nice words, and suddenly you've become the hottest thing since sliced bread to hit the website. Simply Google "hot girl," copy and paste, put in some words about loving to cook, clean, and please your significant other, and I promise you will have numerous messages flooding your inbox from prospective suitors (with extra points if you list one of your hobbies as fellatio).
This can become dangerous when those interested in dating websites venture into them with open hearts and rose-colored glasses firmly affixed to their face. According to Time Magazine, Match.com has recently implemented that background checks for sexual assault be given to everyone that signs up to use their site. So basically, they admit that before now they failed to prevent child molesters and sexual predators from using their website as a grocery store of sorts. Great.
Why now? Because when an entertainment lawyer from Los Angeles has a bad experience, everyone finds out about it. After meeting a seemingly potential boyfriend on Match.com and venturing out on some dates, she claims she was sexually assaulted by her prospective love connection when he followed her home. After doing a simple check, she discovered that he had a history of sexual battery. Avoidable? Yes.
Thanks to Megan's Law, searching the database of sex offenders in California is free. If you are on a dating website in the first place, you need to remember that you are in Wonderland. Do not take things at face value. Don't rely on Match.com to do a background search for you. Be proactive and do it yourself if you care enough, which you should. It is your life at risk, after all. It's not all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to love on the web.
It seems as though the days of meeting your soul mate on a whim have disappeared, and online dating has become the norm. Romantic gestures have gone out the door, and in has stepped practicality. Why bother going to talk to someone you don't know when he or she may not be interested, or have a significant other? Instead, it has become easier to hide behind a computer screen, and pursue potential hotties with the stroke of your fingers on a keyboard.
Just remember to be careful, and do your homework, which means going the extra mile and typing their name into the sex offender registry. You know you're going to be lurking their photos anyways. Might as well be productive while doing it.