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Friday, November 10, 2017

How to make Online Social Media Dating Safe

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor G and Vanessa

The question still remains - should you be getting married to someone on the internet based on internet interactions?

Dating has invariably remained the same since the inception of relationships between one man and another. According to the Wikitionary, dating is a form of romantic courtship typically between two individuals with the aim of assessing the suitability of the other as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse. The result of dating may at any time lead to friendship, any level of intimate relationship, marriage or no relationship.

Dating as a prerequisite for most serious relationships has been frowned at by several schools of thought, and religious sects. They believe that dating serves as the bedrock or catalyst for premarital sex and extramarital affairs. However, the hike of marital wrecks in today’s societies coupled with the pileups of divorce cases seen in courts makes it clear that individuals who aren’t meant for each other and who do not understand each other are rushing into marriage to rush out in no distant time. To some extent, proper dating can help eliminate marital wrecks and ensure that only compatible individuals walk down the aisle to say “I do.”

It is an indisputable fact that people can meet at any time and in any place. There is no laid down procedure or rules and regulations that state how normal people meet. Except in the field of professionalism where such exists for example., the military has rules of engagement with civilians, likewise the doctors who also have rules for engaging patients etc. in the absence of professionalism, people can meet anywhere of which includes the cab, restaurant, church, club, hospital, school etc. and even on the internet (social media).

The emergence of the social media in this 21st century has really made the world so small that distance is no longer considered a barrier. The social media makes the meeting and communication of people very easier, simple and possible. It is a form of electronic communication (such as a Website) through which people create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages etc. Since the social media was created to bring people together, the possibility of dating occurring in the social media communication process is a great possibility. Dating can occur anywhere, but its productivity (result) is totally dependent on the place or platform in which it occurs, and the true intentions of the individuals involved.

The social media has become part of our lives and is here to stay. We have seen life the way it is and we have to deal with it. There is a good and bad part of everything, it all depends on how we handle life challenges. Social media dating is not as bad as people portray it to be. But then, there are times when we met someone on the social media and the result of such friendship can create sad memories and experiences that are surrounded by regrets. In the same vein, one can as well have good experiences from the person they met on the social media. Therefore, life is all about taking risks, you take the risk and anything you discover becomes an experience that you can relate to other people.

Hindrances to social media dating

1. Love does not Exist
Every human being wants to be appreciated, its wired in our DNA. Everyone wants to have someone who makes them feel wanted, important and special. Regardless of how some people see it, nowadays when love issues are mentioned, a lot of people will say “sit down! Love does not exist in our today’s society, just find somebody you understand and marry.” But such ideology is laughable because it’s just a defence mechanism that people wear on themselves because they don’t want others to see how vulnerable they are. But the inerasable truth is that at some point in our lives, we are all susceptible to the matters of love.

Some people have taken the chase for money to replace that longing to be loved. This is because in looking for money, it’s like a game, it's surer, you don’t have to be vulnerable because you are in control while chasing money or trying to make money. But love requires you to trust, to allow yourself to be seen for whom you are, and that is a scary place to be for a lot of persons.

2. Sad tales about the social media
Inasmuch as everything has its pros and cons, people tend to exaggerate the cons of something to the extent that it becomes a terror. Such attitude blinds the eyes of people who have very little or no experience of what is been discussed about. One of such bad stories is about a lady who met a guy on the social media (Facebook) and they started chatting and talking. The guy invited the girl to his place in Malaysia, a few days later the girl was found dead.

Only a few percentage of people acknowledge the good results of social media dating. One of such good stories is about a Nigerian lady who just finished her university education, after graduating she met a guy on Facebook, and today she is happily married to him with four kids (two boys, two girls). She has no regrets whatsoever and she is living her life happily with her husband who resides at America.

3. I don’t chat with anonymous personalities
Some people find it extremely difficult to chat with strangers on the social media. No matter how one tries to gain their attention, they don’t seem to reply unless they have known the individual in person before the social media platform. People who they can’t identify are classified as lacking individuality. They chat only with their friends and family and no other. This kind of behavior kind of limits the essence of the social media. 

4. Most people live a lie on the social media
In this era when everything has gone digital, one sees photoshopped and computer-generated images and videos that are very deceptive on the social media. Most times what is seen on the social media is far from the reality. Everyone appears to be perfect and without flaws, few people share reality, while most people share fantasies on the social media. It then takes wisdom and discretion to filter the huge volume of information that one comes across on the social media.

5. Technophobia
Technophobia represents a set of people who fear or dislike advancements in technology or complex devices. They have refused to move along with the moving train as a result of being technophobic. They believe that computers can’t be trusted and thus, they prefer to stay away from it or use it as minimally as possible. Joining the social media is a nightmare to them and the possibility of them engaging in social media dating can be compared to passing a camel across the eye of a needle. They strongly believe that technology and everything that has to do with it is detrimental to human survival.

6. Religious condemnation of the social media
Religion from time immemorial dictates to man what to do and what not to do. Various doctrines found in several religious sects abhors the participation of their members in social media activities. The act of dating to some religions is a sin, and dating on the social media is considered a grievous sin fueled by wants to satisfy the flesh (carnal desires). The teachings they give to their members is to stay away from the social media. The devil is proposed to be the initiator of such lifestyle and all he seeks is the downfall of man. Priests readily mount the pulpit to enumerate the hazards of the social media but seldom talk about or appreciate the benefits of the social media.

7. ill societal perception of the social media
The society which is comprised of people who share cultural aspects, such as language, dress, norms of behavior etc., can be a stumbling block for the advancement of the social media. The most parts of the Nigerian society today, still show doubts about social media dating. In most developing countries of the world especially in African countries, activities that takes place in the social media is attributed to be a western lifestyle. Some societies believe that anything that has to do with the social media is artificial and not natural. Dating on the social media is considered a worthless venture.

“When I wanted to get married, I went to your mother’s home to acquaint myself with her and probably introduce myself to her family. How do you explain this mysterious guy who is proposing marriage and professing his love for you on Facebook? Do you think Facebook love is true love? I hope you are not doing this as a result of being desperate to get married?” An Igbo man asks her daughter, who told him that someone on Facebook wants a serious relationship with her.

Dating on the social media and how to protect your interest

A lot of people have used the social media to their advantage and one can find true love that will stand the test of time on the internet. 

  • The chemistry of social media dating

It all starts when two persons met on the internet, they start chatting continuously, they both begin to know everything about each other based on the information each party agrees to release to the other. Things can get serious as to involve video and phone call conversations. They both begin to build up an enormous amount of emotion for each other, they actually fall in love because of the deep concerns being shown. They begin to feel too comfortable with each other because every man has this inner part that yearns for care and appreciation.

  •  Protecting your interest in social media dating

Getting married or dating through the social media is not bad. However, leaving your relationship on the social media, at that level is the problem. When you meet someone on Facebook and you get talking, try to make every effort to know that person personally, a little better. Exchange visits, try to know that person for whom they are, in tangible form, in a form that you can hold. 

You see the person, you know where they live, where they are from, whom they are. Spend quality time with them, not on the social media but physically. This is because the way someone tells you “I love you” on the phone and the way they say it physically is quite different.  You are able to tell more if one genuinely loves you when you are having a conversation with him or her face to face.

As someone who wants a long-term relationship, you cannot base your judgements or put your life in the hands of someone you only know on the social media. It’s okay to meet people on the social media, there are no restrictions on where or how you should meet someone, but when you do that, don’t leave it at that level – that’s where the problem kicks in.

The problem escalates when nude pictures are being shared on the social media and then on the first time of the meeting, they both end up in bed. Once that happens, you are unable to have concrete communication with that person. You are unable to deepen your friendship or communication in terms of conversations. What happens is that the moment you meet a person and you get overly excited, you go for a movie and then end up in bed, you are not spending quality time, you are spending valuable time having sex and not knowing the person in details.

Having sex with that person doesn’t mean spending time with the person, or taking time to know that person. Once sex takes the space of communication, it is difficult to know people for whom they are. Sex interrupts humans critical and analytical reasoning.
  • The relevance of communication in Social media dating
In the 1960s; Professor Albert Mehrabian and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA), conducted studies into human communication patterns. Their result states that only 7 percent of our communication is verbal, and 93 percent is non-verbal. The non-verbal communication comprises of body language which is 55 percent and the tone and music of voice which is 38 percent

Yes, spending time on the social media having a conversation with people is cool. But once you want to spend the rest of your life with that person or even try to consider taking the relationship seriously, you must of great necessity spend quality time with them physically before going to the level of saying “I do.”

Recall, 55 percent of communication is body language, that is something you will not see if you leave your relationship on the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram level. You need to take it out of that level because of the talk and chat you are having with the person on social media is just but 7 percent of communication.

Some people will say, “okay we do Skype (video call),” but Skype is still not a physical conversation. Yes, you are seeing the person but anything can be faked and it does not exclude photos and videos. Meet the person face to face, not just once because if you say you are going to marry that person, then it means you are entrusting your life into the hands of that person.

Feel free to meet, chat, and date on the social media. But if it is getting serious, demand that the person spends time with you, get to know their real personality. A lot of people say that the profile pic is fake, the personality of the person is fake, but you would not know all that if you get married to a picture and 7 percent of communication is all you used.

The social media is the future and full of possibilities, so embrace it.

1. Philip Yaffe. (2011). The 7% Rule – Fact, Fiction, or Misunderstanding. Retrieved from http://ubiquity.acm.org/article.cmf?id=204315  DOI: 10.1145/2043155.2043156

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