Dating site to the rescue

Calls for internet access levels on schools’ browers to be increased may soon be voiced, despite one teenage girl’s registration on a dating site via her homework laptop lead to her discovery after going missing.

When fourteen year-old Hanna Snider disappeared in Sorrento, Maine earlier this week, it was only through the dating site membership on her hard-drive and browsing history that her discovery at a boy’s home in Thomaston was effected so swiftly.

There is only so much protection any school can provide to control what their students access online, even if they do adhere to the CIPA* guidelines to the letter. As it stands, in order for schools and libraries to qualify for certain funding, they have to ensure browsing filters recommended under The Children’s Internet Protection Act are installed and implemented. However, once the student gets home, there are no such governance implications. If there are any limits, they are those imposed by the parents, not any school board.

This is where the onus really passes back to social media platforms and online dating sites to vet sign-ups with more scrutiny. Questions have got to be asked, ‘How did a minor manage to become a member of an internet-based dating community? and ‘What levels of control can social media platforms, singles dating sites, parents and schools enforce to limit minors access, and volumes of contacts once registered, thereon?

In circumstances such as Miss Snider’s, where potentially hundreds of contacts may need to be searched through in case of disappearance, critical time may be lost with so many individuals, be they schoolmates, social media buddies or potential partners on a contact site.
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RSU 24, Maine’s appointed regional schoolboard, is aware of the importance of computer safety and its incorporation into the curriculuum, and beyond. As such, it stresses to its pupils’ parents to keep tabs on what they are browsing whilst using the internet at home, especially the more adult contact service or online dating agencies, where the filters applied in the classroom cannot be enforced.

With apps being developed which double-check registrations, and pressure being applied from all areas of society regarding accessibility and exposure on multiple levels of the internet, it could be time that internet dating sites set the precedent by introducing more stringent sign-up methods.

Silver surfers #1 in online dating searches

The thought of running a match against my online dating profile and the results bringing up my grandad are, well, just plain scarey, let alone what that eventuality would do for my self-confidence.  Needless to say, if our dating credentials were compatible, I’d probably never be able to look him in the eye again…
…and sitting on his knee at the Christmas get together – forget it.

But the odds of me meeting someone from the, shall we say, more mature dating crowd online are slimming by the day.  In contrast, just the thought of any compatability with the upper branches of my family tree through any type of online singles service has me reaching for comfort-chocolate and puts pounds on my hips, but that’s perhaps for another day.

According to the US Census Bureau, more than a third of men and women fifty-plus are not married.  That figure translates into new adult dating site memberships; the reported numbers from dating agencies suggest that sign-ups from the over fifty-five bracket has increased almost 40% in the last three years.

The reasoning behind these figures, those in the know suggest, is down to a combination of factors.

First and foremost, individuals looking to find love on line are a lot more au fait with the internet than previous generations classed as ‘seniors’.  Many have matured with the age of computing, therefore searching for their perfect partner online is not as alien a concept as it has been to this age-group in the past.

Online dating agencies are great tools for searching for your partner if you know what you’re looking for and you concede a fair amount of leeway in what you expect from the profile search results.  Maybe having been around the block a few times, the more mature members of society using an internet-based dating tool know precisely which character traits to filter out.

Not only can our mature dating seniors show us a thing or two about being honest in what you’re looking for, but also their experience of dating off-line brings realisation that you can spend all of your life looking for that one special relationship, which ticks all of your boxes, but miss out on helluva lot of fun with those who are darned close.

It is less than surprising, then, that singles in the fifty-five plus bracket are hitting dating sites more than any other age group. But they have some competition – the 45-54 group hold second spot in frequenting online dating sites.
So, I’m off to find a partner online quick, before the internet dating community is sponsored by Saga…