By Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships. Here are five facts about online dating: When we first studied online dating habits in , most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people. Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating — and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive. Online dating use among to year-olds has also risen substantially since the last Pew Research Center survey on the topic. One factor behind the substantial growth among younger adults is their use of mobile dating apps. But it still means that one-third of online daters have not yet met up in real life with someone they initially found on an online dating site. Many online daters enlist their friends in an effort to put their best digital foot forward. Despite the wealth of digital tools that allow people to search for potential partners, and even as one-in-ten Americans are now using one of the many online dating platforms, the vast majority of relationships still begin offline.
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A national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June July 12, , among 2, adults, finds that: The share of to year-olds who report having used online dating has nearly tripled in the last two years. For young adults in particular, this overall increase in online dating usage has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the use of mobile dating apps. These young adults are now more likely than any other age group to use mobile dating apps.
As was the case in previous Pew Research Center surveys of online dating , college graduates and the relatively affluent are especially likely to know people who use online dating or to know people who have entered into a relationship that began online. Those who have tried online dating offer mixed opinions about the experience — most have a positive outlook, even as they recognize certain downsides Users of online dating are generally positive — but far from universally so — about the pros and cons of dating digitally.
On one hand, a majority of online dating users agree that dating digitally has distinct advantages over other ways of meeting romantic partners: On the other hand, a substantial minority of these users agree that meeting people online can have potential negative consequences: Overall, men and women who have used online dating tend to have similar views of the pros and cons — with one major exception relating to personal safety.
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Advertisement Every day, millions of single adults, worldwide, visit an online dating site. Many are lucky, finding life-long love or at least some exciting escapades. Others are not so lucky. The industry—eHarmony, Match, OkCupid, and a thousand other online dating sites—wants singles and the general public to believe that seeking a partner through their site is not just an alternative way to traditional venues for finding a partner, but a superior way. With our colleagues Paul Eastwick, Benjamin Karney, and Harry Reis, we recently published a book-length article in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest that examines this question and evaluates online dating from a scientific perspective.
We also conclude, however, that online dating is not better than conventional offline dating in most respects, and that it is worse is some respects.
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Are apps superficial or a more real way to meet than old-school online dating options? It uses GPS technology so you can see profiles of singles nearby. Mosser, a teacher working in Indianapolis, used the app for a month and met her current boyfriend. That was in On Tinder, pictures of people appear, and with the swipe of a finger you can say “like” or “no thanks. You only get notified if you both express interest. Then, you can send private messages or arrange a date all without swapping phone numbers.
Not meeting potential dates through your friends? Online dating lets you branch out beyond your social circle as you search for a partner, says Paul Eastwick, PhD, assistant professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas in Austin. Cut to the Chase Tinder and other apps like Hinge, JSwipe, and Grindr don’t ask users to create detailed personal profiles with information on profession, body type, or political views.
Profiles include only a few photos, age, and a short self-summary. You can upload photos. Plus, you can filter matches based on gender, age, and distance. This process may seem superficial, but singles waste less time poring over lots and lots of data, Mosser says.
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Intriguing Worldwide Courting Rituals One of the reasons for the change in where people meet may be due to the increase in demands on people’s time. There are more single parents as well as more divorcees out on the market looking for love and about one-fourth of married people had been married before their current relationship. It’s not so easy to go out to bars and clubs when you have parenting duties as well, so the social circle may be limited to the people you meet in the workplace.
People who have been through a divorce can also be a bit more cautious or even jaded about love and marriage. They’re less likely to jump into a new relationship without knowing more about the other person in advance. The anonymity of the web has given courage to shy people and hidden the identity of people who don’t want everyone to know they’re dating. Best of all, sites like OkCupid and Match.
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