A story in which it WORKS:
I met my boyfriend here. Right here on this forum. I was 15, he was 16. He was dating someone at the time, and we became friends almost instantly. Now, up until then, I'd had little to no interest in dating. I'd been attracted to people, had a long-term crush, and so on...but never dated. And I certainly never thought about dating online. So it was as big a shock to me as anyone when I realized I'd fallen for that friend...really fallen.
The problem? I live in the United States, and he lives in Australia.
Less than a year after first meeting here, we "got together." He'd broken up with his girlfriend, and developed returned feelings for me. About a month after that, we had our birthdays (I turned 16, he turned 17...both in February). After two more years of keeping in touch via IMs, e-mails, letters, and phonecalls, we met when I traveled out there the summer after I graduated high school (I was 18, he was 19). I stayed with him and his family for a month.
Being separated after knowing what it was like was one of the hardest things we had to do, for we were as perfectly compatible in person as we had been elsewhere. And we were separated for another two years. Then, just this past June (I'm 20, he's 21), I went back to stay with him for TWO months. Parting was...more than a little difficult, but we ARE confident that we'll see each other again, and for much longer. And, of course, we are still in touch via e-mail, IMs, letters, and phonecalls...just as we've always been. This coming January, we'll have been dating for five years. This coming April, we'll have known each other for six.
My point is, while you should be wary of people online...you should know that sometimes it DOES work, sometimes that person you're talking with IS who they say they are. Just like the people you meet every day on the street. An online relationship can work, and I'm only one of the many success stories. Heck, I don't even consider my relationship online anymore. Why should I? Once we'd met, it became a long distance relationship (long, long distance). I'm not ashamed of how we met, and there's no reason I should be. Without the internet, what are the odds that I EVER would have started something with a guy in Australia? Low, eh? And that's where the internet came in. Helping me to meet him, where I otherwise wouldn't have.
I don't think that's a bad thing in the least. It isn't easy, but its been worth it.