The Boomer is a column written for adults nearing retirement age and those already in their golden years. It will also promote reader interaction by posting e-mail responses and answering reader questions. E-mail your questions or topic ideas to email@example.com.
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It was 1962 and I was on the verge of entering my teenage years. I remember at age 12 sitting in a dark theater watching Elvis Presley in his latest movie, Girls! Girls! Girls! Presley, known for his good looks and gyrating hips, was a cultural icon for the baby boomer generation.
While some argue the "King of Rock and Roll" sold out by cranking out lame and corny musicals throughout the 1960s that robbed him of his musical edge to make himself more marketable to women and families, one thing cant be disputed: he sure knew how to get the girls. And let me tell you, we male, adolescent baby boomers paid close attention to how he did it.
Fast-forward 40 years and the boomer generation is all grown up and we have a new dating tool at our disposal: the Internet. No more awkward blind dates, bad dates with a friends crazy third cousin and straining to hear someone at a bar. Baby boomers are hopping online and joining a new breed of online dating sites catering to the 50+ age group.
Baby boomers represent roughly 20% of online daters, according to research firm IBISWorld and the numbers arent expected to slow down any time soon. The dating industry has taken note of the recent surge and is catering to this growing population with sites like SeniorPeopleMeet.com, SilverSingles.com and SeniorPassions.com.
While online dating tends to be more convenient than traditional methods of meeting people, its not without faults and boomers still need to use caution when perusing such sites.
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Al Kernek, CEO of Pacifica Endeavors LLC, discuses the new wave of online dating and how baby boomers can safely find their match.
Boomer: New research shows baby boomers are the fastest-growing group of people looking for love onlinewhats behind the surge?
Kernek: People at this age are usually empty nesters and the daily 24-hour closeness they have with their spouse leads many of them to re-examine relationships, and many boomers end up getting a divorce.
Older baby boomers are quite comfortable with the Internet. I recently read that 80% of boomers over the age of 50 are into social media; they grew up with the Internet and are comfortable using it and have no qualms about trying online dating. They also don't have any preconceived barriers to using that type of service.
Boomer: What is the best way for boomers to dip their toes into the online dating waters?
Kernek: Before boomers begin online dating, I recommend they go to Google and search for online dating tips. A search like this will get you good advice of what to look for in a profile how to identify any potential pitfalls and how to guard your privacy and your safety online.
Boomer: What advice do you have for boomers that find someone online they are interested in?
Kernek: Baby boomers need to be very careful and take everything they see online with a grain of salt; people tend to exaggerate on their profiles. Their photos may be a few years old. Dont ignore you gut feelings. If you decide to take the next step and have a face-to-face meeting with an online acquaintance, be sure to do it on neutral grounds like a coffee shop or restaurant. Meeting on neutral territory allows you to walk away if it doesnt work out. Don't invite someone to your home for the first time you are meeting them.
Boomer: We've all heard horrible stories related to predators using online sites to seek out their prey. How do dating websites protect their members from online dating scams that target older singles?
Kernek: I am affiliated with seniormatch.com, one of the more respectable sites targeting older persons. Before I formed that affiliation I did some research. Boomers need to look at companies Better Business Bureau ratings to see if there have been any complaints. It is crucial to research any online dating site before joining--especially if you are giving credit card information to sign up.
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