The 21st century ushered in a new phase of Internet Communication Technology (ICT) with its attendant blessings and curses. For instance, innovations in digital technology enhanced person-to-person interactions through websites and electronic gadgets such as smartphones and tablets which allow phone calls and internet chats. Online dating is, therefore, a collective term for young people and adults, including Christians.
Online Dating Channels
Though some Christians still have reservations about online dating websites, many princesses are meeting their knights in shining armor each day through online dating channels. The trendiest communication method for people in long-distance relationships is dating apps, which allow the installation of chat software on smartphones for cost-effective interactions over the internet.
Internet users browsing from laptops or desktop computers can visit online dating communities through the World Wide Web (www). Installations of web browsers such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome are a prerequisite. An active internet connection is also required. Users have the option of video calling if their computers have inbuilt cameras or connect an external camera through the USB port.
One of the primary functions of phones is to enhance communication between two or more persons. This is done through Short Messaging Service (SMS) or Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). Though both mediums serve the same purpose, SMS allows only texting while MMS permits sending of images and texts.
Also, we’re having the option of using Phone chat lines that with a common number connects singles to the same pool. This type of service is called Chat line dating usually singles uses this type of service until their trials expires.
Advancements in ICT enabled installation of digital software on smartphones thereby eliminating the stress of moving about with your computer. Phone applications are similar to software programs installed on computers, but smartphones are preferable because they are handy, easily accessible and capable of handling cloud computing services.
Apps do not need web browsers, but an active connection is required to access the functions of most dating websites.
Smartphones have SMS and SMS functions as well as audio and video-calling capabilities. Apps, therefore, bridge the gap between people though there are lots of risks involved.
Discussions on whether Christians should use online dating have been around for decades. Critics of the dating method argue against it because looking for love online shows a lack of faith in God, who has the divine power to provide partners in His own time.
On the other hand, supporters of online dating think Christians should have the right to find love online through websites or apps built strictly on the values of Christianity, specifically Christ-centered devotion. For the second group, online dating serves as a tool for bringing people of the same faith together.
And countless testimonies of happy marriages started from matchmaking sites. It is therefore considered a fallacy for anyone to categorize Christians using online dating as “good” or “evil.” The question should instead look into what happens next when two people meet online. This brings us to some of the risks involved in online dating.
Should You Get Involved?
Before registering on a dating website, the first question you should ask is: what’s the purpose? Again, you should ask if it’s worth it.
Online dating brings a mixture of joy and sorrow because marketing yourself to millions of people out there with different temperaments, personalities, and background indicates you are at some risk.
Worse still, you are never 100 percent sure that your goals—however genuine—will be met. Media statistics show that a large number of people have ended in body bags after erroneously thinking they had found true love on dating websites.
Whether you are seeking partners for a casual meeting, one-night stand, lasting relationship or marriage, here are few facts you should know:
a. There are sex offenders out there: About 30% of rapists use online dating websites as their primary platform for tricking unsuspecting victims. Some of these sex offenders are not yet on the public registry National Sex Offenders because they have no previous arrest record.
b. Love scam is real: At least 20 percent of profile names, pictures, and addresses found on dating websites are fake. While some internet users have falling victim to fraudsters who device lies with claims of true love only to dupe unsuspecting individuals. Some of these scammers are daredevils who can visit their victims, get emotional as the need arises and maintain long-term relationships with promises of marriage.
On the other hand, there are phishing websites purposely built to steal your credit card information with little or no suspicion from you. Of course, the fact that some real dating websites offer paid services increases the threat.
c. Online predators abduct and murder for ransom: Online records show that over 20,000 persons are abducted and, in most cases, killed after they exchanged contacts with strangers on dating sites.
d. Victims lose over $100 million every year: One of the famous love scam stories come from fraudsters who claim to be in love and would love to meet except for problems caused by distance. They eventually ask for flight fare.
This highlights the level of trust you should have for online friends until they are proven innocent beyond all reasonable doubts. Unfortunately, the foxy criminals know precisely how to melt a man or women, heart.
Fact check on finding true love online
Beware of this common lie. There’s a 65% probability that people you see on dating websites are married, divorced or in a relationship. Unfortunately, most people would rather lie about their relationship status because the primary purpose of using dating sites is to “use and dump” unsuspecting partners. You have about a 10% chance of finding people who are ready to commit to a long-term relationship.
The bitter truth
According to research conducted by Factual, every 4 out of 5 persons who met on dating websites have unprotected sex on their first date. The painful truth is: people have rights to their bodies and can do whatever to want with it—if it doesn’t infringe on anyone’s freedom or rights. But this is different for Christians who are answerable to God for their personal decisions.
What to Do to Stay Safe
Using a trusted dating website is the first step to avoiding the risks associated with blind dates. Fortunately, there are over 10,000 websites to choose from, but you certainly need advice and referrals from close friends, family members, or colleagues. Other security measures you can take include:
- Conducting private investigations on your matches. You can do this by searching Facebook and Google for clues.
- Don’t give out your personal information (bank cards, home address, social security, etc.) to online friends for any reason.
- Block friends with suspicious characters and report them to customer care. Identified threats will have their accounts deactivated after a review.