Many of you are probably familiar with online dating sites such as Zoosk, and eHarmony — websites specifically designed to help you find a compatible partner.

But now, with the advancements of technology and the growing number of participants, many of these online dating sites are coming up with new strategies to draw even larger crowds.

Virtual dating is a relatively new type of dating system.

Like online dating sites, it allows individuals to form relationships with others all over the world.

The interesting concept of virtual dating is it combines online dating with online gaming. Like online dating sites, you are required to create your own profile and search around for people who interest you.

Once you come across a profile you like, you simply click a button and ask that person out on a date. This is where virtual dating starts to branch out onto its own path.

On an online dating site, if that person responds “yes,” you would have to pick a place to meet and show them a good time, whereas on a virtual dating site, you would go on a “virtual date.”

You choose an avatar image that will best represent you, and then you choose a dating venue, such as a bar or quiet restaurant, for your avatars to interact.

Your avatar’s every action is controlled through your computer. I could type in “You’re beautiful,” and my avatar will say those exact words. I could hold the other avatar’s hand, touch its face and blow a kiss — all with the click of a button.

Eric Bland, a writer for’s news page, tested some of these dating programs.

According to a 2009 article he wrote, “I went on a date with another woman … I held her hand and after five minutes she asked me if she could kiss me, and I accepted. Maybe my girlfriend will be able to forgive me since this was a virtual date.” I found what Bland said intriguing.

If someone goes on an online dating site and meets up to have dinner with someone other than his current partner, wouldn’t that be considered cheating? Where do you draw the line in virtual dating?

I have come across some interesting arguments in support of virtual dating, like the fact that you don’t have to dress up and can get to know someone in the comfort of your own home.

There are no expenses for dinner or drinks. And the opportunity cost of wasted time is cut way down.

Still, it’s depressing to see how technology is shaping our lives; we’re becoming a lazy society that does nothing but sit in front of our computer screens.

I think some of these programs are scary and unnecessary.

If you have the desire to meet someone special, I think it’s worth the effort to really go out of your way to get to know that person — not via the Internet.

Online dating may have it’s benefits, but when more and more people depend entirely on these sites to find their special someone, I can see why this could be a problem.