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article imageLatest data released on Internet dating, digital relationships Special

By Lesley Lanir     Oct 21, 2013 in Internet
New study findings released about online dating and relationships show that not only are social networking sites the place to find your next date, check up on past partners and but also that attitudes towards internet dating are becoming more positive.
Pew Research Center's Internet Project has released new survey findings showing that online dating and digital relationships are on the rise and also becoming a more acceptable medium to the public for searching out and finding love and romance and checking up on past love interests.
Findings include:
• How many people use online dating
• How Americans’ attitudes towards online dating have changed (for the better) over the years.
• The experiences—both good and bad—that people encounter on online dating sites.
• How social networking sites such as Facebook are impacting dating, relationships, and break-ups in America.
• The role of the internet - from researching potential partners to checking up on past loves.
The results show that:
• One in ten Americans have used an online dating site or mobile dating app.
• 66 percent of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through online dating
• 23 percent have met a spouse or long-term partner through these sites.
• Public attitudes towards online dating have become more positive in recent years, but many internet users also report negative experiences.
• Social networking sites have emerged as a venue for navigating the world of dating and relationships.
Digital Journal contacted Aaron Smith, Senior Researcher at Pew Research Center's Internet Project to discuss some of the findings.
Taken together, 11% of all American adults are “online daters”—Did you expect this kind of percentage?
First, it is important to note that the one in ten figure is based on the entire population. So that includes lots of people who are not in the dating market--either because they are already in a long-term relationship or because they simply aren’t looking for a partner at the moment.
If we focus in on certain groups, online dating use is much more prevalent. 38% of people who are currently single and looking for a partner have used online dating, as have 22% of those in their mid-20s through mid-30s.
On the other hand, for other groups—such as rural residents or seniors—online dating is quite uncommon. For example, just 3% of people over the age of 65 have used online dating.
Watching online video
Watching online video
by joeywan
Did you expect these kind of percentages? Do you find these figure surprisingly high/low?
- 59% of all internet users agree with the statement that “online dating is a good way to meet people,” a 15-point increase from the 44% who said so in 2005.
- 21% of internet users agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” an 8-point decline from the 29% who said so in 2005.
The magnitude of that change was somewhat surprising, but it has gone hand-in-hand with the increased number of people who know someone who uses online dating (or has met a partner through online dating).
When we first studied this subject in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to people who use it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people.
Today, almost half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or has met a spouse or partner via online dating—and their attitudes towards online dating have grown progressively more positive over that time as well.
To be sure, there are still lots of people today who don’t really understand why someone would want to date online, but in general it’s much more culturally acceptable than it was just eight years ago.
Other than using it yourself, knowing someone who uses it (or has met someone through it) is the most potent predictor of positive attitudes towards online dating.
Can comment on these results?
- 54% of online daters have felt that someone else seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.
-28% of online daters have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.
- Women are twice as likely as men to report this type of unwanted contact (42% vs. 17%).
This was the first time we’ve asked these questions, so we honestly sure what sort of responses we’d get.
Certainly anecdotal evidence would suggest that the “this person doesn’t look like they did in their profile” phenomenon is fairly common.
And the fact that women are more likely to receive unwanted contact is also not terribly surprising, since other research has indicated that men are much more likely than women to initiate contact on dating sites (and I think most women would agree that real-world contact of this type is more likely to fall on women as well).
From the results it seems people are using the internet more as a dating service but the outcomes of the ‘meetings’ don’t seem to be overly successful. Could you remark on this?
That particular finding is not terribly surprising. Our study was not designed to see whether online dating produces better or more long-lasting relationships than real-life dating, but most of the academic research on this topic has either been inconclusive, or has found only very minor effects.
Could say the internet itself, beyond dating services, has become a growing database for searching for and checking out potential partners?
Internet user
Internet user
Photo by jared Tarbell
Definitely, and social networking sites are playing a big role in that shift.
As people are increasingly documenting their social lives on social networking sites such as Facebook, those sites have become an increasingly valuable tool for getting a sense of what type of person someone is
—and that as employers are frequently checking prospective hires’ social media accounts before hiring them, people are increasingly doing pre-date research on prospective romantic interests to get a sense of who that person is.
“Americans now document much of their personal and social lives on social networking sites such as Facebook, and dating and relationships are no exception,” said Smith. “This is especially true for younger adults, many of whom are now living out their dating lives—from finding and meeting potential partners to managing the fallout from relationships that have ended—publicly and in real time online.”
So, looking for a date? Seems that the internet is now the place to start your search.
The complete findings of the study are detailed in a new report called, “Online Dating and Relationships”. The data are based on a nationally representative phone survey of 2,252 American adults, conducted between April 17 and May 19, 2013.
More about Online dating, Social Networking, Pew Research Center Internet Project, aaron smith, Relationships
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