The surge in single parents going online to find a date has led to a heated digital debate: should their profiles include photos of their kids?
With more than 13,700 dating and matchmaking sites on the Web, nobody can say for sure how many participants post pictures of their children.
"That was something I decided I wouldn't do for privacy reasons.
When you're a single mom dating, you just never know.'' She met her boyfriend, Adam Starr, 42, a real estate agent, on the site for Jewish singles. "How is it any different than taking your child into public with you?
The majority of users on paid sites are the ones most likely to have young children living with them.
Still, its prevalence has generated controversy among commenters in chat rooms, websites and blogs, as well as in single parents' groups.Opponents warn such photos can attract pedophiles and invade their children's privacy, while supporters contend the pictures provide a more well-rounded picture of who they are.Amy Sue Harwood, of Boca Raton, was on on and off for five years but never posted pictures of her sons on her profile."There are some people who put their children on there and talk about their kids all the time,'' said Harwood, 41, owner of flbsquared LLC, which designs Facebook pages for businesses.
Some 20 million Americans use dating websites, more than twice as many as five years ago, and the numbers are expected to grow.
The spike is in part because of the convenience, the growing acceptance of the practice and the ability to tightly focus a search by ethnicity, religion, location or other factors.