|Interest is brewing from various quarters to require background
checks for users of dating websites.
Most users who join dating sites have no idea how effective the
particular dating site is. They therefore sign-up with several
dating sites either in a bid to find the ideal site, or to
simply try all different sites simultaneously until they find
their mate on one of them.
If the government lays down the law that people using dating
sites succumb to background checks, most people cannot afford to
pay for the background check. For those who pay once and are
discontented with the website, they are unlikely to pay over and
over again to try other dating sites. Therefore, the government
would inadvertently have dealt a big blow to online dating,
which may spell the demise of online personals business.
Be that as it may that a background check has its benefits, can
we say it's fair to single out dating websites? What about
classified ads in newspapers and periodicals? What is good for
the goose is good for the gander. Are newspaper companies
therefore, also going to be required to conduct checks on
advertisers before personal ads could be posted? If not, why not?
What was the matrix of this proposal in the first place? The
whole idea is predicated upon making it safer for people to date
online. Basically, anybody with a criminal background would
either automatically be disallowed from signing-up on dating
sites, or must have something next to their profile that says
the user has a criminal background. The former is more likely.
With that said, are people without a record guaranteed to be
above board when they meet someone online, or would it merely
create a false sense of security for users of dating sites?
Furthermore, background checks can only be conducted with the
most ease on USA residents. What then is to be done about the
other millions of users from other countries around the world
who contact Americans? Unless the law prohibits Americans from
dating foreign users, and vice versa, a law requiring background
checks would be grossly ineffective, and not likely to achieve
the desired effect.
Besides the obvious negative impact of this law on online dating
industry, government involvement in dating sites sets a
dangerous precedence for regulating other areas of the Internet.
Where do we draw the line?
What the government should be focusing its energy on is
educating users about ways of conducting background checks. Any
user on an online dating website can dig up information on
somebody he or she is communicating with. Many county websites
now provide public information such as marriage/divorce records,
mortgages, business ownership, sex offences, felony convictions,
etc. With this type of information available free of charge, is
there any sense in the government getting involved? Surely it'd
point out people with a record, but the negative repercusions on
dating sites clearly outweigh the benefits.
Perhaps the single most important point to consider in this law
would be how often a dating site needs to repeat background
checks on it's millions of members. A user with no criminal
record at the time he or she signs up for an account, may end up
with a record anytime afterward, which automatically renders the
old background check useless.
This proposed law is nothing more than window dressing on the
part of the legislators pursuing it. Fingers are crossed to see
what becomes of it.
Discuss and vote on this topic at http://oasisoflove.com/polls/
About the author:
Richard Akindele is the Founder of http://www.oasisoflove.com, a
full-featured, and FREE online dating service. Sign-up and start
to meet singles in your local area.
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