With a rapid development of Internet technologies, which are aimed to simplify humans’ lives, not only the process of communication, but also searching for a mate through the Internet has become widely spread all over the world. Interestingly, numerous sites that offer people the opportunity to find a spouse may have different conditions of using them. However, many of them have become a profitable business, which work in agreement with various marriage agencies. These sites have both advantages and disadvantages compared to the real-life dating. Hence, it is not possible to define online dating as “good” or “bad” since it depends on numerous external factors and on a way of socializing and finding an eligible partner.
In order to study the peculiarities of Internet dating services better, several sites, among which are eHarmony and OkCupid, were looked through. As a result, it became obvious that such sites appeal to the people who are single, divorced, widowed or separated. The registration is quite simple and includes questions that are aimed to define a person’s name, age, aim of search, character, and position in the society. In general, people usually ask all these questions at the beginning of their acquaintance. One more important point is that a person can use the filter to easily sift out unsuitable candidates according to such criteria as age, location, race, appearance, religion, values common interests etc. Consequently, it is very easy to state that online dating does not contradict the sociological filter theory, but rather corroborates it. People can upload and watch the photos, talk in video chat, exchange messages. All these opportunities let individuals learn more about each other, about the culture, national traditions and even habits of each other. Therefore, if the relations between two people who date in real life can be based on passion and physical attraction, the Internet dating excludes such possibility and is aimed to establish the relations on communication.
It is important to mention that appearance of the sites is always very bright and attractive. A user can find numerous romantic images, read many love stories of people who have found each other with the help of the given site. However, one of the most disputable questions considering cyberdating concerns the fact that almost all of them are paid. To my mind, the usage of psychological tests and claims that a person will definitely find a perfect match is nothing more that a good advertisement for business project. Firstly, there are only few sites, which are really free of charge, like OkCupid,for instance. The others, like eHarmony, sell their membership for money, although they state that their services are free. However, as it is in real life, there are no guarantees that a spouse will be found as the love stories posted on the site promise. Consequently, the dating services are mostly based on lies. In addition, there are numerous examples proving that those who are registered on the site can lie about numerous things, which are not seen on the photos or video. Furthermore, numerous photo and video editing programs can be used to change a photo or video. Therefore, online dating contradicts the equity theory as the online dating is not based on the “fair play” from the very beginning.
In general, online dating is one of the ways of meeting people, which usually includes such manifest dating functions as recreation, companionship, love and affection, mate selection. The latent dating functions are also appropriate, since cyberdating also serves as a means of gaining social status, fulfilling ego needs and using opportunity for sexual experimentation and marriage. However, taking into consideration the fact that it provides people with opportunity to deceive others and that one can detect the lies much later than in case of dating in real life, online dating seems to appear less attractive. Moreover, to my mind, the payments and fees that are paid for the membership are not justified. Therefore, if one decides to choose online dating, it is better to use the sites that are really free or the social networks that are no less effective for the new acquaintances.