Once balked at as a means to find a life mate, now online dating sites and mobile dating apps are the new option for finding a romantic partner and even a spouse. According to Pew Research, up to 11% of American adults have used mobile dating apps or dating sites and a whopping 66% have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or mobile dating app. What’s even more impressive is the number of married couples who say they met their spouse from an online dating relationship, up to an all time high of 23%.
Pew based their report on a telephone survey of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older, completed in May. What’s interesting about this particular study is that it was not conducted by dating websites, who have a vested interest in high numbers, but rather by Pew, a non-partisan research group.
What does Pew Research say about their study of mobile dating apps?
“We’re not just looking at users of a particular site or a convenience sample,” says the report’s lead author, Aaron Smith. “We have the ability to look at a nationally representative portion of the population to show not only what’s happening now but how those behaviors have changed over a period of time.”
The whole idea of online dating has morphed in the last decade. Not only are couples finding more romantic partners online via mobile dating apps, they also notice their friends and family members doing the same thing. For instance, Pew estimates forty-two percent of Americans know someone who has used mobile dating apps or online dating sites, up from 31% in a 2005. More people also report knowing a friend, family member or colleague who has married someone they met online or via a mobile dating app.
Researchers note that this growing trend is likely to change the perception of online dating. As the use of both mobile dating apps and online dating sites expands, more and more people are likely to accept this tool as an efficient and useful way to find a romantic partner.
What’s wrong with online dating and using mobile dating apps?
Despite its rise in popularity and use, experts note there are still some troubling aspects of computer dating. Some users claim that the internet may offer an unrealistic expectation that there is “some promised land of eligible partners” making it less likely for some people to settle down and get married. Why? Because they think they have an unlimited number of exciting prospects.
Experts warn that thinking that you can break up with your current girlfriend or boyfriend and always finds someone better on line or through a mobile dating app may not always be true. Although there may be many possibilities, they are not always good. Men and women may actually be limited in the number of prospects who are desirable, attractive and not creepy.
There are other downsides for using mobile dating apps; for instance, up to 54% of users who responded to the survey “felt someone else seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile,” and 28% “have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or mobile dating app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.” But that statistic might be similar for other people who are using more traditional means for finding a mate.
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