If it bleeds, it leads. That's the motto of today's media. If it's sensational and shocking, it makes the news. When's the last time you saw some good news at the top of a newscast or on the front page of your newspaper? I could spend pages analyzing the reasons for this phenomenon, but that's not my purpose here. I simply want to point out that the media that most Americans depend on for information gives them an overly negative and distorted picture of our world.
Being a private pilot, I see the reputation of small airplanes being maligned by the excessive coverage of a few dramatic accidents. Judging from the amount of TV coverage, you’d never guess that 50,000 people are killed each year in cars in this country as compared to only 600 in airplanes.
Another pet peeve of mine is the popular perception of internet relationships. You’d think from the news you hear, that anyone who meets another person online is bound to be ravaged and murdered. Most Americans have come to fear anyone who's on the internet. Another God-given tool that can help people around the world has been given a black eye. Yes, predators can and do use the internet to prey on innocent victims, but the same thing happens in bars, on street corners and even in churches. The internet is no more dangerous than any other means of meeting people. In fact, I suggest to you that it’s much safer and better if used properly.
It’s safer because you begin in the privacy and safety of your own home. You have complete control of events. You determine how much information is given to the other person. You determine how and where you meet the other party. You have time to consider the possible consequences. You can plan a way out if things aren‘t right. You are able to make decisions and plans without pressure. You can have an understanding of what's expected before meeting.
It’s better because it vastly increases the number of possible contacts. The opportunity to meet someone who has your values and beliefs, likes and dislikes, is much greater. Whether you look for that special someone in a bar or in a church, you will find that you’ve soon exhausted the supply of possibilities in your immediate area. The internet, on the other hand, is virtually limitless. You begin with a profile of the other person, allowing you to immediately begin the process of elimination, based on the things he or she finds important.
As in any situation, you must use wisdom and common sense. You must always be careful. There are charlatans and frauds on the internet, as there are in any other facet of life. Yet, to fear the internet because of a few, is to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
You may gather from my attitude that I am a satisfied internet user. I have had the opportunity over the last few years to meet many people via the internet. Some have become friends. One pilot and I shared several wonderful experiences flying together. Then came that wonderful lady who I shall call "Misty". Had I not made myself available in cyberspace, we would not be sharing some of the most fabulous times of our lives, in the air, on the water and on the ground. I will be eternally grateful to God for using this amazing tool called Internet to make my life complete again. I will be eternally thankful that I did not let the doom and gloom of countless negative news stories steal away my treasure.
If you are an adult looking for that someone special, check out some of the internet dating sites, such as Dream Mates, eHarmony, and many others. If your beliefs and values are Christian in nature like mine and Misty‘s, then Christian Cafe may be the place for you. Always be on the lookout for red flags. If there is anything that doesn't seem right, check it out thoroughly before proceeding. Sites with more detailed profiles, such as eHarmony, make it easier to detect any inconsistencies and often make for a better match.
Be very patient, but once a person of interest is identified, it's important to meet in person within a reasonable amount of time. Getting too emotionally attached on the internet could lead to a big disappointment when finally meeting in person. Remember to always be cautious. Not everything everyone tells you is true, but there are some honest, wonderful people out there, just like you, me and Misty!