Students partake in Web dating experience

Online dating can be just as risky as playing a game of dice. However, it seems some people are willing to gamble with their relationships.

When using an online-based dating service, people never know what the outcome will be. Although dating on the Internet may start out as if it will end up just right, it could leave some people with mental scars.

Tanza Thompson, an 18-year-old psychology student from Tallahassee, said she met someone on an online dating system and would not do it again because the person did not look the same and kept harassing her with phone calls after she lost interest.

Thompson said she sees this as an accident, but it seems easy and common for people to be dishonest when dating online.

Yoland Newland, an 18-year-old freshman pharmacy student from St. Louis, has a friend who dates online.

” I always go with her when she meets them and the pictures are totally different from what they are in person,” Newland said.

An 18-year-old freshman from Miami, who does not want to release her name for personal reasons, also dealt with a dishonest person; she said she thought she was meeting a boy when the person turned out to be a girl.

There seems to be more problems than just dishonesty with online dating. Safety can be another issue.

Newland said that her friend met a guy online that threatened her.

“We have entered a period where rules for living have been abandoned; people are dangerous. The first issue is safety. You know nothing about them, meet them and we might never see you again,” said Dana Dennard, a clinical psychologist in Tallahassee and also a psychology professor at Florida A&M University.

Experienced online daters have tips to make it safe.

“Meet them in a public place where you can call for help and take someone else,” Thompson said.

A less dangerous problem with meeting people online is that people do not get to talk to people in person.

“You can’t get the full vibe like in person,” said Charlyique Reynolds, a 19-year-old sophomore English student from Miami.

Dennard said when people are face-to-face, there are non-verbal and emotional cues that people can catch that you cannot catch online.

“Online dating allows for more fantasy to take over in general, that’s what contributes to poor communication, not responding to actual cues,” Dennard said.

Though meeting people online may sound grim, there are two sides to a coin.

Meeting people online does not always turn into disappointment.

A 19-year-old junior from Miami, who also does not want to reveal her name for privacy reasons, said she had a good experience with online dating.

“It lasted over a year and a half,” the pharmacy student said.

She said that it was one of her best relationships.

Even though Thompson said she would not do it again, she said she has heard of online dating working.

Some people do not end up having a dating relationship, but start lasting friendships.

“He was really nice and real sweet, he was who he said he was. We went out on two dates, and we like hanging out more than making it official,” Reynolds said.

Even though it is a toss-up of whether online dating can work, there are several online dating websites today, and it is becoming extremely popular. There are even expensive commercial ads on television for online dating.

One of the reasons people seek mates online is due to problems of meeting people in person.

“People don’t value humility, they don’t realize they have faults. People shouldn’t write people off so quickly,” Dennard said.

Dating can be frustrating and a hassle whether online or not. Dennard offered some last insight on how to make things a little simpler.

“People either know their values or don’t know their values. Seek understanding values,” she said. “People seek superficial reality rather than long-term values. Online dating is a reflection of how society is superficial.”

Contact Royce Wynn at