Washburn students explore online dating

Online dating has gone mainstream and is a booming business for Internet hook-up sites, according to the Huffington Post, one in five romantic relationships worldwide start online.

Online dating has gone mainstream and is a booming business for Internet hook-up sites, according to the Huffington Post, one in five romantic relationships worldwide start online.

One reason might be that for a single person, searching for a mate all night on a computer is a lot cheaper than spending all night in a club or a bar.

Many people still prefer the old-fashioned way of meeting others, but if Washburn does not have a large enough dating pool, branch out to some of the others.

Recently, that’s what two college students did. Alex Dowdell, student at KU Med and Hongzhi Meng, a student at Emporia State University met online on Match.com. They married in the library at Emporia State.

“We figured out in a few months what it takes some people to figure out in years,” said Dowdell of their dating experience.

Katie Bunting, a senior legal student at Washburn, says she found someone she wants to be with on the dating site Omegle.com. She has been communicating with him online for several months.

“He is a devout Christian and has made me feel better about religion.  Where God may take us, I don’t know,” said Bunting.

They often use Skype now to communicate face-to-face since he lives in Kentucky.

Bunting, who also has a pen pal in England that she met on Craigslist, says to beware of “catfish” on online dating sources. A catfish refers to a person with a fake profile hoping to fraudulently attract someone.

That is why she likes Snapchat, Facetime and Skype; she can see what the other person really looks like and they can see and speak to each other at the same time.

“Technology has really boomed,” said Bunting. “It makes people more trustable because it is harder for people to portray themselves as someone they are not.”

“My dad and stepmom met online and married,” said Kinsey Ashworth a sophomore history major at Washburn.

They were online together for five months before tying the knot and have now been happily married for seven years.

Some students still have their reservations about online dating, though.

“You can’t get that first impression when you are online,” said Christina Lewis, a sophomore and early childhood education major. “People aren’t who they seem in person, let alone online.”

What used to be seen as a strange, geeky way to find someone special has now become not just acceptable, but a desired way to meet new people.

Many people meet online and happy, healthy relationships follow. But it is a good idea to take some precautionary steps to be safe. Here are a few tips:

Get an anonymous email account with Gmail or Yahoo. It is free and much less messy to close out if things do not work out.

Take time and get to know more about the person, get to know their moods, talk on the phone, but block caller I.D. until some trust has been built around the relationship. When some time has been taken, decide whether the person is moody or suspicious, “just right” or “just not right.”

When going for that first date, have transportation and meet up for coffee or a drink. Plan ahead what to do if things don’t work out. Don’t get stuck without a backup back-out plan. Double dating is a good idea, too.  There’s safety in numbers.

Never leave food or drinks unattended. Many people are good and trustworthy, but don’t take chances before getting to know them. The old axiom “better safe than sorry” is a good one to follow.

If online dating sounds interesting, there are many places out there to try.  These are the five major dating sites listed by popularity:




4.OurTime (for mature singles)