Risk and Trust - Internet relationships
Risks of Internet Dating
This paper looks at the concept of risk from a cross-cultural perspective, with an aim of adding more facts to Eurocentric frameworks, in relation to internet dating. Internet websites are increasingly becoming a common lifestyle for everyone across the world. The internet portals have come with a lot of possibilities, supporting communication and exchange of ideas on political, economic and social issues across the world.
Continued modernization with the aim of distributing wealth is leading to a massive spread of risks. Man is in the process of shifting every working process from manual to an automated state. The internet has been the driving tool for most automation processes. The result of this automation has been increased risks to human skills and health.
Besides the threats to skills and health, society faces increased social conflicts resulting from massive modernization. Dating as a process of socialization has not been left out of the effects of modernity. The popularity of internet dating is growing so fast. Distance is no longer a barrier to relationships, with dating and social networking sites such as; facebook, twitter, MySpace it is possible to keep in touch despite the distance apart
Risks associated with modernity have evolved in complexity beyond human perception. The modernity risks include; air pollutants, water pollution and high dependence
The distribution of risk differs from one region to another depending on the level of modernity. Even those who profit from the processes that result in these risks are not exempted from the risk effects. The class effect in society is slowly being broken up by the boomerang effect (Beck, 1992, p. 22). The spread of modernity risk effects penetrates both national and social borders, spreading the risks both to the rich and mighty in the society. Research indicates that modernization has had a great effect on the environment leading to a contradiction in profits and property value.
Risks are noted to be among the differentiating factors between developed and developing nations. In every risk, there are those who lose and those who benefit from it. Risk beneficiaries profit from the big business ventures that cause risks. Beck (1992, 23) points out that risks resulting from modernization can be alleviated to a greater extent; he argues that civilization risks are unclassifiable and keeps on evolving. Besides, the modern lifestyle demands more time on economically productive activities leaving people with little time to socialize. These scenarios have made many people resort to the internet, making them very popular internet sites. Such internet sites include; matchmaker and the American singles. Katz (2003, p.2) indicates that as many as 35 million people were subscribed to various online dating sites by the end of 2002. This number represented well over 40% of the single persons in America then.
The younger generation of people in the range of thirties is the most common users of the online dating service. The most significant aspect of internet dating is that it allows potential partners an opportunity to know more about one another before meeting one on one. The underlying risk, however, is that many people provide untrue information on their profiles. One can fall for an individual based on wrong information on the profile and end up meeting a different person. Katz (2003, p.7) points out that internet dating sites are categorized on the basis of race, interests, religion ethnicity and geographic regions. One can, therefore, search for a dating site using any of the groups’ criterions.
Peterson (2004, p.24) defines culture "as a set of stable values and beliefs held by a people in a given geographic region.” Culture is exhibited in the people’s behaviour and the environment. Globalization has opened up borders of the various geographic regions allowing the rampant sharing of cultural values (Giddens, 1991, p. 114). The Eurocentric framework perspective of risk has been criticized by various social theorists, who argue that risk and anxiety sources develop from social and cultural values (Caplan, 2000, p. 4).
Social theorists, unlike the Eurocentric frameworks, argue that risk perceptions are dynamic and vary with time and place. Beck (1992, p.20) links the exponential spread of risk to modernity, he further notes that forces of modernity have brought about many risks to mankind. The major concern then is how to liberate or protect ourselves from such risks. Use of the internet to find sexual partners has an attached risk of spreading sexually transmitted infections such as HIV AIDS which currently has no cure. Hoeger and Hoeger (2008, p. 451) note that people who seek sexual partners on the internet are at a greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.
Shaffer (2008, p.158) points out that internet dating favours city dwellers, he also argues that this type of dating does not give potential partners an opportunity to clearly know one another. One on one meeting gives one a chance to evaluate the personality of the dating partner by observing personality and character features. By talking to an individual, it is possible to read their mind and establish whether they are honest or not. This can be read from their voice tone, eye movement and how they perceive certain ideas. Such privileges are hidden in online dating as the involved parties share ideas and life experiences on a virtual platform.
Fraud is another issue that has been pointed out on internet dating. The security department reports receiving several cases of the US citizens who are conned by their online dating friends (Bocij, 2006, p. 117). The "friends” lure their lovers to send them money or even credit card information and end up conning them of dollars. Dating agencies register and keep a database of registered clients using the service. The tricky aspect, however, is that many who register as members rarely provide true information about themselves. This makes it had to be able to track such a person in case he or she uses the service to commit a criminal offence. Internet dating has also been used to perpetuate slavery and other criminal activities such as visa fraud (Bocij, 2006, p. 118).
It has also been pointed out that internet dating is an addictive activity which seems to eat out in peoples working time. Giddens (1991, p. 115) indicates that rapid modernization has created a lot of risks for mankind. An employee who is addicted to dating spends much of his or her working time on dating rather than performing the work duties. In this regard, the worker's performance on the job goes down because of spending much of the working time on internet dating rather than working. Employers of such employees pay them salaries, but the service delivery by the employee is below the set standard.
High level of modernity has led to the evaporation of the old culture, resulting in a culture that perceives the old ways of doing things as outdated. Modernity has however brought a series of risks which require appropriate skills and knowledge to mitigate. Living in the modern world requires that we
Accidental risks originate from calamities that man has no control over. Anticipated risks emanate from actions that we involve ourselves. We are the own cause of many of the risks that we find ourselves in through our attempts to modify the environment that we stay in. Manufacturing activities, for example, we release waste gases into the atmosphere and water bodies. These wastes cause pollution and have been the major cause of global warming that is currently a major global risk in the world.
Internet dating has become so popular especially among the youths, enabling them to hook up with dating friends all over the world. This is a modern element that besides the convenience considering the busy modern lifestyles poses many risks to users. Such risks include; fraud, human trafficking and lying partners. There is, therefore, a dire need to learn more about the risks associated with modernity and develop clear mitigation strategies to the risks.
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Katz, M., E. 2003
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