Risks of online dating essay

Ariely wondered what had gone wrong. Surely, he thought, online dating sites had global reach, economies of scale and algorithms ensuring utility maximisation this way of talking about dating, incidentally, explains why so many behavioural economists spend Saturday nights getting intimate with single-portion lasagnes. Online dating is, Ariely argues, unremittingly miserable.


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But it turns out people are much more like wine. When you taste the wine, you could describe it, but it's not a very useful description. But you know if you like it or don't. And it's the complexity and the completeness of the experience that tells you if you like a person or not. And this breaking into attributes turns out not to be very informative.

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So he decided to set up a website that could better deliver what people want to know about each other before they become attracted. His model was real dates. If you and I went out, and we went somewhere, I would look at how you react to the outside world. What music you like, what you don't like, what kind of pictures you like, how do you react to other people, what do you do in the restaurant. And through all these kind of non-explicit aspects, I will learn something about you. His online system gave visitors an avatar with which to explore a virtual space.

It wasn't about where you went to school and what's your religion; it was about something else, and it turns out it gave people much more information about each other, and they were much more likely to want to meet each other for a first date and for a second date. Badiou found the opposite problem with online sites: The septuagenarian Hegelian philosopher writes in his book of being in the world capital of romance Paris and everywhere coming across posters for Meetic , which styles itself as Europe's leading online dating agency.

Badiou worried that the site was offering the equivalent of car insurance: But love isn't like that, he complains. Love is, for him, about adventure and risk, not security and comfort. But, as he recognises, in modern liberal society this is an unwelcome thought: And I think it's a philosophical task, among others, to defend it.

Across Paris, Kaufmann is of a similar mind. He believes that in the new millennium a new leisure activity emerged. It was called sex and we'd never had it so good. Basically, sex had become a very ordinary activity that had nothing to do with the terrible fears and thrilling transgressions of the past. All they needed to do was sign up, pay a modest fee getting a date costs less than going to see a film , write a blog or use a social networking site. Nothing could be easier.

In a sense, though, sex and love are opposites. One is something that could but perhaps shouldn't be exchanged for money or non-financial favours; the other is that which resists being reduced to economic parameters.


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The problem is that we want both, often at the same time, without realising that they are not at all the same thing. And online dating intensifies that confusion. Kaufmann argues that in the new world of speed dating, online dating and social networking, the overwhelming idea is to have short, sharp engagements that involve minimal commitment and maximal pleasure.

In this, he follows the Leeds-based sociologist Zygmunt Bauman , who proposed the metaphor of "liquid love" to characterise how we form connections in the digital age. It's easier to break with a Facebook friend than a real friend; the work of a split second to delete a mobile-phone contact.

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In his book Liquid Love, Bauman wrote that we "liquid moderns" cannot commit to relationships and have few kinship ties. We incessantly have to use our skills, wits and dedication to create provisional bonds that are loose enough to stop suffocation, but tight enough to give a needed sense of security now that the traditional sources of solace family, career, loving relationships are less reliable than ever.

And online dating offers just such chances for us to have fast and furious sexual relationships in which commitment is a no-no and yet quantity and quality can be positively rather than inversely related. After a while, Kaufmann has found, those who use online dating sites become disillusioned. But all-pervasive cynicism and utilitarianism eventually sicken anyone who has any sense of human decency.

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When the players become too cold and detached, nothing good can come of it. He also comes across online addicts who can't move from digital flirting to real dates and others shocked that websites, which they had sought out as refuges from the judgmental cattle-market of real-life interactions, are just as cruel and unforgiving — perhaps more so.

Online dating has also become a terrain for a new — and often upsetting — gender struggle. Men have exercised that right for millennia. But women's exercise of that right, Kaufmann argues, gets exploited by the worst kind of men. The want a 'real man', a male who asserts himself and even what they call 'bad boys'. So the gentle guys, who believed themselves to have responded to the demands of women, don't understand why they are rejected. But frequently, after this sequence, these women are quickly disappointed.

After a period of saturation, they come to think: Alternatively, he will post the information on a website and demand money to remove it. Savage calls this "sextortion," as the extorted material often contains sexual content. Canny burglars have turned to the Internet to get information on potential marks. Experienced and casual Internet users alike should beware of sharing too much information with an online friend, as he may be nothing more than a thief wanting to find out his victim's home address, day-to-day schedule and upcoming holiday plans.

Once they know the house will be left empty for an extended period of time, the burglars strike; people who live in an isolated location may be especially at risk. Some online liars are not interested in stealing money or possessions -- they simply want their victim's love, concern and support as they struggle with an illness they don't actually have, a behavior termed "Munchausen by Internet. Although television programs such as Chris Hansen's "To Catch a Predator" Dateline series have widely publicized the risks for children, adults are also vulnerable to online sexual predators.

A predator who targets adults may sign up for dating websites, many of which don't conduct background checks for prior criminal convictions, or simply lurk around large online communities; once he has found a suitable victim, he spends some time building up her trust, arranges a meeting and then strikes.

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Dangers of Meeting People Online

Laurel Storm has been writing since , and helping people with technology for far longer than that. Some of her articles have been published in "Messaggero dei Ragazzi", an Italian magazine for teenagers. She holds a Master of Arts in writing for television and new media from the University of Turin. Thieves Canny burglars have turned to the Internet to get information on potential marks.

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Liars Some online liars are not interested in stealing money or possessions -- they simply want their victim's love, concern and support as they struggle with an illness they don't actually have, a behavior termed "Munchausen by Internet. Sexual Predators Although television programs such as Chris Hansen's "To Catch a Predator" Dateline series have widely publicized the risks for children, adults are also vulnerable to online sexual predators.

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