Lecture enlightens the online loveless

Professor Wayne Caron pointed out the pros and cons of Internet dating.

Lily Langerud

For students wanting to know more about cyberlove and online relationships, Wayne Caron had all the answers.

Or at least some of them.

Caron, professor of family social science, gave a lecture Thursday titled ìLove in the New Millennium.”

Addressing new issues facing relationships in the Internet age, Caron related theories of love to various aspects of online dating, but made no promises to solve the mystery of love.

The lecture, sponsored by the Office for University Women, was requested by students, said Marsha Frey, associate program director of the office.

ìObviously thereís interest during Valentineís week about matters of the heart,” Frey said.

Caron said it is important for people to be thoughtful and keep their values in mind when using new technology for dating.

ìMaybe you guys will have the ability to be less victimized by social forces than my generation was,” Caron said, referencing the skyrocketing divorce rates in the 1960s and í70s.

Caron pointed out limitations to Internet-based relationships, especially in situations where people never meet in person.

ìThe one thing technology canít replicate is silent time,” Caron said, also noting that the Internet has positive potential for long-distance relationships in which people can converse without worrying about huge phone bills.

For college students in particular, the issue of changing relationship dynamics is important because this is the time in life when intimacy is sorted out, Caron said.

The stigma that people use online dating services only because they canít meet people somewhere else has lessened over the past five years, Caron said.

ìIt is actually a marvelous alternative to the bar scene,” he said.

Melissa Saari, an individualized studies junior who went to the lecture, said she met her boyfriend last July on Yahoo! personals.

ìI see it as a bonus, since youíre not just basing it on a biological attraction,” she said.

John Schrom, who graduated form the University last fall, said that among college students, using MySpace or Facebook is a more socially acceptable way of dating.

ìIf I join Yahoo! personals, people are going to think differently about me, whereas everyone is on the Facebook,” he said.

Schrom said he uses online dating Web sites because he doesnít want to date his friends.

ìSome of my friends date each other and itís kind of weird to me,” he said. ìIf you use the online community, it just kind of broadens your horizons.”