Florida A&M University
(BLACK PR WIRE/FAMU-TALLAHASSEE) "" No longer are dinner and a movie the norm for getting to know the person of your interest. Nowadays, it's the internet and a social network that gets you more acquainted. eHarmony, Facebook, Match.com and BlackPlanet.com, just to name a few, have become a necessary function for exploring relationships and courtships. Social networks have some good and bad influences on people's lives, but mainly relationships.
"Honestly, I feel that social networks has creatively changed the traditional way of asking a guy or girl out, it made it convenient," says Tawny Shelton, a Florida State University student from Jupiter, Fla.
The top five 2013 best dating sites are Match.com, Zoosk, eHarmony, Chemistry.com and OurTime (consumer-rankings.com). These sites are set up to suit different people's personalities and lifestyles. Dating is found quick and easy by selecting the chat button. That button for a majority is the start of a new love life.
Most dating sites are responsible for relationships, marriages and dates. For security, they are partnering and developing safety boards, teams and campaigns to insure everyone is protected. For example, Match.com, the number one dating site, has joined the STOP.THINK.CONNECT and the National Cyber Security Alliance campaigns to promote safety for online dating.
Social sites aren't always honest. Many users create fake profiles to attract the attention they always dreamed of, or to find out information they always wanted to know. This may lead to breakups, humiliation or sometimes violence.
"Catfish," an American reality TV series that airs on MTV, was created to capture moments of the truth and lies among online daters. "Catfish" host Nev Schulman said he likes to know who they are, and what feelings they have to make them express them in such a manner.
Also, the Internet Dating Safety Act N.J.S.A. 56:8"168 was designed to detect sex offenders, screen background history and to protect those who participate in online dating for all registered visitors of the dating sites.
For the matured population of African Americans, BlackPlanet.com, BlackPeopleMeet.com and Soulsingles.com are designed for their interest. On the other hand, the less experienced choose Facebook or Twitter as matchmaking outlets. However, some people such as Keyonna Shaw, a Tallahassee native, find ways for their online relationships to thrive.
"I'm proud to say that I met the father of my one-year-old on Facebook back in 2009, and we have been happy ever since. Every situation is what you make it," Shaw explained.
Katisa L. Donaldson, MSW Field Director of Social Work at FAMU, says "When you date online, you're dating an image, more so being sold an image. That's what society falls for, when doing it, do it with precaution."
While many may choose to resort to online dating and courting for happiness, others choose not to engage in it.
"The best relationships are unseen and unheard of and the internet is not a place you would like it to debut first," says Sharee Thomas, a graduating MBA student from Tallahassee, Fla.