Remember life before the Internet? When love letters were sent through the mail and being social meant actually leaving your house? It’s hard, I know, but with our entire lives becoming more and more digital, why is online dating still taboo? Or is it? According to a PlentyofFish.com survey, there were 55 million single men and women in the U.S in 2011 and 5.5 million were actively using an online dating site to find love. For you non-math majors, that’s a whopping 10% of singles in the U.S. using an online matchmaking service. Initially, that might not seem like a whole lot, but that is a significant jump from the 2% it was back in 2000.

The definition of taboo states that any social or religious custom prohibited or restricted by local society is considered taboo. So by that very definition, it would seem that using the Internet for dating is not taboo anymore. Yet, there are still plenty of skeptics and critics, all with valid and cautious points. The biggest concern most skeptics have is safety. Yes, meeting someone online can be dangerous and reckless if done incorrectly. That is why I recommend always using a legitimate dating site and never any sort of online classifieds (Sorry Craigslist), blog, or fishy website you have never heard of.

Major sites like eHarmony or Match.com could not have become successful if safety was not a number one concern for them. In fact, as a single girl new to the online dating world, I can see how safe and in control one can be when meeting someone through the Internet. The “old fashion” way of meeting someone at a party or a bar—comes chock full of potentially hazardous situations in comparison. When meeting someone from an online site in person, you are in control of where and when the meeting will take place and can let a friend know of you whereabouts in advance. When going out on the town with friends, you must succumb to the people and surrounding environment, your safety is put in jeopardy to the spontaneity of the night.

Another valid point skeptics mention is that online you are more likely to meet crazy, weird, and just plain strange people. Now think back to the worst date you’ve ever had…didn’t you wish you had a magic button to end the night instantly? Well, online it’s called the “filter button” and it’s quite a beautiful thing. Any legitimate site will have special, customized preferences for whom you would like to be contacted by; such as age, race, education, and even bad habits. So no more warding off creepy old men, or even crazy cat ladies for you men out there, you have control over who you will speak to and/or eventually meet in person. Gone are the days where dating online is looked upon as shameful and desperate, everyone nowadays has tried a site or knows someone personally who has, the stigma has corroded. I have provided a list of the most popular sites below for anyone who is curious to check them out. We now live in a world where everything from listening to music to buying groceries to job hunting are being done online, so why not give finding love online a chance?

eharmony.com
match.com
okcupid.com
chemistry.com
perfectmatch.com
plentyoffish.com
howaboutwe.com