By Alejandra Carrillo
Online dating has become very popular since the turn of the century, but people should be more cautious of whom they meet online.
Well known dating sites like match.com, eharmony.com and plentyoffish.com have opened many opportunities for people to meet their significant other.
Popular websites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Tumblr are not considered dating sites, but can still be used to meet and date people via the internet.
People who would not normally meet walking down the street can meet online.
I began an ongoing, successful three-year relationship through one of the mentioned social media sites.
Although online dating can have its successful outcomes, not all come with such a happy ending.
I am not referring to a ‘happily ever’ after Cinderella story.
I am talking about running into a possible rapist or kidnapper on these websites and potentially meeting them.
These predators are everywhere. They no longer have to be waiting outside a grocery store parking lot or behind a bush at a park to reach a victim.
Technology like the internet or cell phones has made their disgusting habits much easier to make possible.
All it takes now is a computer and making a fake online profile.
Television shows, like “Catfish the TV Show,” is a perfect example on how people can make a fake profile and fool others into believing they are someone they really are not.
MTV’s “Catfish the TV Show” was created based on host Yaniv Schulman’s personal experience.
His experience later turned into a documentary movie named “Catfish.”
Schulman began talking to a girl who he thought was the girl of his dreams, but turned out to be an older married woman.
Schulman thought that he was falling in love with a 20 something year-old Megan but the woman turned out to be Angela, a woman in her late 30s or 40s.
This show never leads to anything extreme like a rape or a kidnap, but it teaches online daters to be careful, and research who they talk to and meet.
Society categorizes rapists and kidnappers as being males.
The truth is predators can be of all different races, females, males, short, tall, fat or skinny.
Although the majority of victims are women, men can also be a target.
For example, other men can go online to search for other male victims.
Online daters may wonder, “how can I tell the difference between who is real and who is not?”
By doing sufficient research on a person, one can learn more than a person tells them.
For example, searching for people on Google can be a way to find information on them.
To prevent any dangers when online daters meet, bring a friend along or meet in a public place.
It probably is not the best idea for an online dater to ask a person whom they recently started talking to meet up at their house.
People already takes risks by meeting other people online.
Taking precautions can prevent a person from being in complete danger and ending up in a life-threatening situation.