The Internet had radically changed the way social customs as dating are conducted. Innumerable innovative ideas for dating have sprung up in the cyberspace. But the important question is whether such developments have beneficial or detrimental effects on the society in general and the youth in particular. In this essay I have tried to answer that question.
What is deplorable with online dating services is the ease with which people can be deceived. It is difficult to know the truth of the data in personal profiles. People with intentions of malice and perversion create nice and attractive impressions of themselves and go on a hunting spree in the Internet. The susceptible and the vulnerable, especially the unwary teenagers, can be easily taken for a ride and sometimes even to fatal results. So, this is an obvious drawback of the cyber dating scene. On this issue of credibility traditional method of dating is definitely superior, for the interested couple will see eye to eye and can make more accurate judgments of the other person. Such aspects as good body language, concurring vibe, etc. are important elements in any successful date and are on offer only in traditional forms of dating.
Cyber dating gives the prospects more options in making available to them a whole database of suitors. Narrowing down the list to the “same types” is easier and saves a lot of time. Equally, it could be argued that, the mystique offered by a first time meeting with a stranger has its own value. Moreover, such developments as romance between office colleagues and activity partners has a more natural feel to it, which is missing in the largely artificial Internet dating scene.
Online dating is seen by many as promoting promiscuity and casual sex among the younger generation. From an ethical standpoint such practices are definitely not so desirable and the growing concern is well grounded. On the positive side many women feel that Internet is an empowering tool in their quest for equality with men. Certainly, the cyberspace allows women to be more proactive in selecting potential partners and gives them more choices.
Cyber dating could also be seen as the culmination of social and political progress that originated during the civil rights movement. Since the 60’s, traditional courtship rituals which were seen as restrictive, sexist and old-fashioned, were altered and adjusted appropriately. But it is important to see that progress in light of the heinous side. For example, 20 percent of teenage girls endure abuse at the hands of the dating partner. This can take the form of physical or sexual violence. Moreover such victims were also suffering from other problems as drug abuse, anorexia, high risk sexual practices, pregnancy and suicidal tendencies. They also suffer emotional trauma. Teenage girls, who are into online dating, have the highest incidence of sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and Chlamydia too. Statistics show that such outcomes are less likely in a traditional dating setup.
In the final analysis, it would seem that traditional dating, though cumbersome and long drawn out, ultimately has a slight edge over online dating for the reasons discussed above. It is also obvious that cyber dating needs governmental regulation, at least to the degree of curbing opportunities for sexual and emotional abuse.
Denizet-Lewis, Benoit. “Friends, Friends With Benefits and the Benefits of the Local Mall.(Magazine Desk)(dating practices and sexual behavior of American teenagers today).” The New York Times Magazine (May 30, 2004 p30
Cohen, Joyce. “On the Internet, love really is blind; romances that flourish in chat rooms and e-mail often wilt at the first face-to-face meeting.(participants in online relationships find they are inevitably disappointed once they actually meet the other person).” The New York Times (Jan 18, 2001
Stevens, Kimberly. “Dating Mr. Right Next Door; the discreet charm of one’s neighbor.(House & Home).” The New York Times (July 25, 2002