hAPPily Ever After?

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

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One click. One date. One night. With a complete stranger. Welcome to the world of online dating.

In the past ten years the idea of online dating has gone from a pastime to a cultural norm, with one in four adults trying out sites and their extension into phone application form.

Online dating is now commonly seen as a part of social interaction due to its renewal in application form.

Only dating sites are used by more than 20 million people, but the both physical and psychological danger are left to users to understand and protect themselves against.

Twenty-seven year old Primary school teacher and online dater Nicole Williams felt the responsibility of safety was her own shoulders.

“The idea of safety was definitely up to me,” She said.

“There have been times when I have had to say no lifts home and even sharing taxis”.

Fellow online dater Bella Heatley imitated these remarks.

“I’ll go overseas and couch surf (but) I wouldn’t meet an online date at my home or theirs, definitely in a public place,” She said.

While this phenomenon is dominating the online world there has been very little research into the reality of its effects.

When Appsolute approached psychologist Dr. Mark Symmons about the effects of virtual dating the response was in the negative.

“My research isn’t specifically in that area” Dr. Symmons said

His sentiments ringing true when researching implications of this online phenomenon resources are scarce.

RSVP is the number one dating site online host to more than 1.6 million users in Australia alone. Financially online dating services have seen a growth of $642 million in the past 2 years.

To online daters the answer for its rise in popularity is clear.

“I had returned from living overseas where the dating scene was a completely different world,” Heatley said.

With education and work now taking precedent people are getting involved in relationships later in life, which would explain the switch to looking for love online.

“I’d just moved inter-state and didn’t know anyone, hadn’t been to any restaurants. I thought this would be a good opportunity to meet new people” Williams said.

Due to its user friendly nature online dating is now on peoples mobile phones, easily accessible huge in range.

With the new iphone App ‘mobimeet’ online users will be able to create profiles that include a GPS tracker to show

While there have been no research done on its dangers, the implications to online App daters of such information is obvious.

“I have done it before but that is insane. At least if it’s simply on my phone I can check it, close it and put it away. I’m in control,” Said Williams

“I know how easy it is for people to infiltrate your life without knowing exactly where you are.”

After having an online date stalk her for weeks, Williams’ knowledge of the darker side of online and App dating can be like.  (Click to enlarge)

*Name has been changed for privacy purposes

This begs the question of internet safety and what is being done to prevent these applications entering the market.

While the government offers a broad range of cyber safety for primary school and teenaged students the only form of protection offered to adults is that against fraud and identity theft.

Even with these threats users looking for love see it as a small price to pay.

“The only chance they have is at work or friends of friends at parties.  If you are not into going out and getting hammered, then there are limited options,” Said Heatley.

“If some people want to go out of their way to put their location onto the web and admit to staying in alone, then they need to take responsibility for whatever happens” Said Williams.

Online Dating Statistics

Words by Emily D’Alterio

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