Online dating has just become less harmful this week, as a number of dating sites have pledged to help to protect the security of their online membership.
This news will be well received by the nearly 40 million US users who regularly use an online dating site, and every user should be conscious and be educated so as to protect themselves from online predation.
The dating sites have pledged to play an active role in protecting their users by checking members with databases listing sexual offenders and banning them from creating online profiles. This will ensure that there is a system in place for a quick response to abusive behavior and will offer online safety education for members, including such subjects as meeting offline and identifying identity fraud and ensuring checks are made to stop the use of fake profiling.
This reaction is as a result of a lawsuit against match.com brought by a Californian woman, who was sexually violated by a male she encountered online.
It was discovered that the suspect, Jeff Marsalis, had accumulated six previous convictions and had subsequently been listed on a sex offender index. In 2009, he admitted guilt to a sexual assault incident and was given a sentence of life in prison. It is not just California that is concentrating on the online security of members of dating sites. Laws to elevate online security measures are also on the cards in Texas and Connecticut.
These tactics are now more essential as a result of an increase in the use of online dating sites. With people’s lives now so busy, individuals travelling more frequently and changing workplaces, not so many people have such good links with their family and community so romantic encounters are not so frequent.
Solo parents and individuals over 40 years of age do not find it easy to make suitable contacts. Now, online dating sites are doing a much better job. An online study of people who got married in the last 3 years revealed that 20% had met each other via an online dating service.
However, there are bad guys in the online dating world and dating a complete stranger brings about some element of risk. The anonymous nature of the internet can make it simpler for fraudsters and violent individuals to conceal their real identities and motives.