By Aimee Jewell–
With many flashy dating sites, the “Catfish” reality show currently airing on MTV, and all the Manti Te’o talk, online dating has become a serious topic of discussion. Match.com, eHarmony and Plenty of Fish are all well-known virtual dating hot spots, but the Notre Dame football player, Manti Te’o, has drawn much attention to the safety behind these networking sites.
The Manti Te’o scandal had many Americans wondering why someone would date another person they had never met before. According to the Washington Post, in 2010, a Match.com survey “found that 17 percent of those who married in the past three years met online, making it the third-most-frequent method of introduction.”
But that was two years ago. Have things changed? With the Internet growing and society becoming more dependent on their technology like never before, how has the dating game changed, if at all?
The rate in which adults are online dating has skyrocketed, but staying alert and private while on a public forum is necessary for one’s safety.
Officer Aaron Graham from the University Police gave students a few helpful tips on how to stay away from online predators. “Be sure to establish some rules or keys to recognize the red flags of a potential ‘Catfish,’ such as probing for intimate or detailed information about your personal life or history, inconsistencies in their personal information, or avoiding attempts to meet in person. If you do decide to meet, try not to do so alone the first time and learn how to use the filtering/privacy features for all your online tools and sites.”
Because of the Manti Te’o publicity, the MTV reality show “Catfish” has become more popular since its premier in November 2012. Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, two filmmakers who produced the “Catfish” documentary, convince individuals who are taking part in online relationships to meet up with their online significant other.
“Catfishing” is when a person attempts to steal someone’s personality and create a fake social media profile, pretending to be someone they are not. This was exhibited in the Manti Te’o case, when Te’o received word that his supposed girlfriend got into a car accident, died from cancer, and then came back to life.
Te’o had fallen for an online hoax, concocted by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a Californian man who convinced his female cousin to talk to Te’o on the phone throughout their hundreds of phone calls.
Te’o’s dating situation was unfortunate, but many online relationships-gone offline can be unsafe for not only the victims’ safety, but also their bank accounts.
According to BusinessInsider.com, “[a]s part of what the ICC called a typical “dating extortion scam,” criminals met their victims on dating sites and asked them to connect on a different social networking site…The scammers then listed [victims’] names, photos and phone numbers on a website. If victims paid $99, then scammers would do them the favor of removing their names.”
Online dating doesn’t always turn out unfortunately, but staying safe online and remaining aware is a definite must. Look below for some must-read dating profile excerpts.
Photo: courtesy of songspub.com