The revelation that University of Notre Dame linebacker and Lombardi Award-winner Manti Te’o was duped in an online dating hoax has seemingly renewed decade-old stigmas about online dating, which is unfortunate, because the Internet is a great place to meet new people.
While it is true that you cannot believe everything you read online, the World Wide Web and a myriad of online dating sites have improved the image and safety of meeting people over the Internet. With credit card-based age verification, background check features and the like, finding love online is safer than ever.
The rush to judge Te’o, who described his fictional girlfriend as “the love of his life” and the reason for his drive all the way to the BCS National Championship Game, might be warranted for exercising poor judgment, perhaps, but indirectly persecutes online daters and those who choose to pursue a long-distance relationship.
The true lesson of this story should be to always exercise caution when communicating with people you do not know online, and in Te’o’s case, to make a plan to meet face-to-face before you fall in love.
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