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Safeguarding Online Dating

Although many of the top online dating sites already have systems and dedicated personel that help protect their members, (including codes of contact, rules enforcement, fraud and abuse prevention), there seems to be a growing interest in some state legislators to require online dating services to perform background checks on their members. For instance, in the state of Illinois, one of their legislators is considering creating legislation to exclude sex offenders from posting online personals. To read more about this story, visit USAToday.com and read the online article, Background Checks Split Matchmaking Sites, written by Donna Leinwand.

The core idea behind this type of legislation is to help safeguard online daters by forcing dating services to ensure that all of their members are truly single and has not been convicted of any crime. And although there is merit in this idea, it is hard to conceptualize how one can implement it in a fair and just manner. Ideally, it needs to be implemented in a way that will truly sanitize the online dating community without harming dating services and the pocket books of online daters.

Hypothetically, such legislation has the potential to energize the dating community and the dating industry. If dating services can provide assurance that all of their members are not currently married and free of any criminal record, then may be more users will reach out to more online members and more online members will be more receptive to these opportunities. And as word gets out about how effective online dating has become, it may even attract more singles to try online dating. The end result could be that online daters see a boost in dating opportunities and dating services see a boost in subscribers.

Now, lets look at the pitfalls. At a macro level, online dating is just one of many avenues to meeting new people. Other avenues, though on a smaller scale, are newspaper personals, phone chat lines and online chat sites. Should the legislation be all encompassing and include these types of services along with the online dating services?

At a micro level, how thorough and how often should each profile be checked? Should it be just against the state(s) records or should it also include federal records as well? What about members who are from other countries or members who have records in other countries? There is the issue of frequency. If a profile passes with flying colors the first time, is that sufficient or is it just great timing?

Lastly, if this law comes into fruition, the online dating services will most likely pass the associated cost of doing background checks to their members. For some, it may be a small price to pay for the additional peace of mind. For others, it may not. The bottom line is, there are no guarantees in life because there will be risks and rewards in everything you do.

So, when you are dating online, just take the same precaution as you would when you are out and about. Place your trust in your judgment, your instinct and your heart. It will probably serve you better than any governmental regulation can. To help get things started in online dating, just take a look at the Best Dating Services available online today.

Posted by eDatingCentral.com Dec 12, 2005 7:00 am

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