Online dating: Should kids be te the picture?

Critics believe children’s photos may draw predators

The surge ter single parents going online to find a date has led to a heated digital debate: should their profiles include photos of their kids?

With more than 13,700 dating and matchmaking sites on the Web, nobody can say for sure how many participants postbode pictures of their children. Still, its prevalence has generated controversy among commenters te talk rooms, websites and blogs, spil well spil ter single parents’ groups.

Opponents warn such photos can attract pedophiles and invade their children’s privacy, while volgers contend the pictures provide a more well-rounded picture of who they are.

Some 20 million Americans use dating websites, more than twice spil many spil five years ago, and the numbers are expected to grow. The spike is ter part because of the convenience, the growing acceptance of the practice and the capability to tightly concentrate a search by ethnicity, religion, location or other factors.

The majority of users on paid sites are the ones most likely to have youthful children living with them. According to IBISWorld Inc., the market’s research rock-hard, daters ages Legal to 29 are the largest group on the free sites, while the bulk of daters using paid romance websites are 25 to 54.

Amy Sue Harwood, of Boca Raton, wasgoed on JDate.com on and off for five years but never posted pictures of hier sons on hier profile.

“There are some people who waterput their children on there and talk about their kids all the time,” said Harwood, 41, holder of flbsquared LLC, which designs Facebook pages for businesses. “That wasgoed something I determined I wouldn’t do for privacy reasons. When you’re a single mom dating, you just never know.”

She met hier bf, Adam Starr, 42, a existente estate juut, on the webpagina for Jewish singles. He has a 10-year-old and 7-year-old daughter and felt the same way.

“I didn’t think it wasgoed suitable,” he said.

That thinking strikes others spil illogical.

“How is it any different than taking your child into public with you? You’re not exposing your children to anything they wouldn’t potentially encounter during an afternoon at the park,” a dater posted on plentyoffish.com, a free dating webpagina. More than a dozen posters weighed ter on the kwestie ter a debate that spanned more than two weeks.

On the blog singlemommyhood.com, one poster said she attempted online dating with and without hier child’s pictures online and it didn’t make a difference.

Jena Strickland, organizer of the Broward Single Parents Meetup, said the topic has bot broached by some of the women ter hier club.

She opposes the idea because “you never know who you’re going to meet” and thinks parents should apply the same logic when posting on social networking sites like Facebook.

She said some moms who postbode pictures do not include their kids’ names, or use shots without identifying features, like a schoolgebouw uniform, which can provide too much information online.

Albeit there have bot no widespread reports of predators gaining access to children via dating websites, law enforcement officials say it is a potential problem.

“Wij know that people who are interested te kids will target a single mom and foster a relationship with that mom just to get close to the kids,” said Mike Phillips, smeris supervisor at Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s rekentuig crime center. “It’s one of those things where you can be playing into the mitts of a bad person.”

Brad Russ, director for federal programs at Internet Crimes Against Children, said people need to understand that merienda something is posted, there is little they can do to get it off the Internet downright.

“On a dating service, you can let someone know you have children without providing their name, ages and other information,” he said.

Some of the fatter dating sites, such spil match.com, eharmony.com and true.com, permit users to postbode pictures of their kids, but te some cases there are limitations.

On match.com, for example, the user has to be ter the picture with the child ter order for that picture to be posted.

True.com, which screens members to determine if they are married, felons or sexual offenders, banned members from posting pictures of their children four years ago. But that caused a backlash and the kerkban wasgoed lifted after a duo of months, said company Voorzitter Ruben Buell.

“A lotsbestemming of people say there is nothing more significant to mij than my kids. A lotsbestemming of our moms want their dates to know that being a mom comes very first,” he said.

Toni Marshall, of Delray Beach, mother of a 5-year-old, said she wasgoed astonished to see so many boys postbode pictures of their kids on their dating profiles.

“The hook is the kid,” said Marshall, who said such pictures can backfire. “On one mitt it gives the impression that he’s a family man, but on the other palm it gives the appearance of not being responsible.”

Matchmaker and relationship coach Anne Robbins, of Fort Lauderdale, said she doesn’t think posting children’s photos helps a dater’s prospects.

“You see people posting pictures with their children, with their friends and with their dogs,” she said. “Truly what you should be doing is capturing the essence of who you are, not the other people te your life.”

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