You add each other up, joke, laugh, upload a nice picture and probably even fake a few words.Cyber relationships are absurd. A few days of this and teenagers find themselves bitten by the ‘love bug’.

The Internet has always been the focus of both criticism and praise, because of its endless boon as well as bane to mankind. Be it online shopping, online advertising, online researching or even online dating! Yes, you read it right. The monopolization of mass media and the growing popularity of sites like Facebook/OkCupid/Omegle et al have become so huge that people stray away from communicating in real and resort to finding love in the virtual world. While flirting online is amusing for many, some take it rather seriously and commit themselves to the person behind the screen. Because if you can’t find love in the real world, why not give the virtual world a shot? Fair enough, right? It works heavens for some but for the most part, the branching consequences from our trivial actions and choices can lead to countless heartbreaks that could have been easily avoided in the first place. ‘Cyber dating’ has inarguably paved way for such consequences – both, good and bad.

We all try not to think too hard about what online dating might bring with it because how could it possibly affect anybody, right? We just log in and become whoever we want to be for that period of time and talk. It seems like a fun thing to do and we’re all in the game. Most of us commit to giving cyber flirting a go because it’s so easy to get detached to the person behind the screen as soon as we’re bored and we don’t even have to try too hard to become the ideal boyfriend/girlfriend. Just pretend. Let’s face it – no one’s alien to pretension. You do it all the time and I’m just as guilty of it! Moreover, its really easy to think you have a connection with someone who pays attention to you and chats with you. With the help of social media, you don’t even need to be aggressive to get somebody to notice you anymore. All you really need to do is send a friend request and then upload a cute picture, act cute and talk cute and THERE! You will be dating in no time. It really is that easy.

But are cyber relationships even real? Or are they something that you create in your head? The internet - something that feels so safe can be very deceptive and its impossible to separate the good from the bad sometimes. The trap can be ugly, scary even!
You smile and type as your heart races, but do you question yourself if the feeling is genuine? For the most part, most cyber relationships don’t share real intimacy or a true connection. The interesting thing is that people know they’re feigning emotions and yet they enjoy it. Not only is this a waste of time, energy and money but these are mere illusions that can cloud your perception of real-life relationships. Dealing with someone we have not met is a breeding ground for lies. Sometimes, there are graver kinds of lies, even. How can anybody possibly deal with such lies? Is everything fabricated? Probably not. So, how does a person know what is true and what is not? In the end, they’re forced to rely on their words, and those aren’t even spoken, they’re typed!

“Well, it worked in A Cinderella Story but everybody can’t be Princetongirl and Nomad. And with all the perverted guys in the world, they can put on any facade just to get a girl. I mean you don’t know the person and you just give your private information, which might just destroy your life. Don’t you need to at least physically meet the person before you start dating?”

Sure, there might be minimal complications while dating online, but exchanging a million unmeant “I love yous” is a terrible idea. It is not okay to mess with someone’s head and mind, even if it is completely virtual. Yes, we get to know people better, crack jokes with them, share moments of happiness and moments of tragedy with them but falling in love? A lot of you will probably argue and think – “But we’ve seen people getting married to each other after dating online.” Yes, there are exceptions. There are exceptions all the time. And even though we were always taught to keep distance from strangers, as we grow up, we do the exact opposite. We simply can’t help it now, can we? The only solution to this is to be more careful. Love can happen anywhere, yes, but lies are more prevalent online and it is always safe to be wary! Many times, the chemistry might be a little too magnetic to ignore. The person might seem like the kind of person you’ve been dreaming of and he/she may get you like no one else but it is absolutely essential to understand that recognizing an enemy from a distance is tougher than we think. With perverts and stalkers, phonies and liars stalking the virtual world for easy targets, it becomes necessary to fully know what kind of person you’re dealing with.

Do a background check on the person. Always! Do not give out your personal information easily. You’ll be surprised to know how easily teenagers disclose their most private details. Give yourself and your online companion some time to analyze the situation. Never dive in. But when you do dive in, swim slow. Arrange the first few dates in a public place so there are less chances of you getting into trouble. Always be wary of his/her actions, his/her words. And while it is very tempting, do not linger around the computer all the time. Don’t wait for the person to come online. You have other priorities! But most importantly, don’t let the internet consume you because you might just lose sight of your true Mr./Ms. Right who’s standing right in front of you!