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Today, three-in-ten U. Previous Pew Research Center studies about online dating indicate that the share of Americans who have used these platforms — as well as the share who have found a spouse or partner through them — has risen over time. Americans who have used online dating offer a mixed look at their time on these platforms.
On a broad level, online dating users are more likely to describe their overall experience using these platforms in positive rather than negative terms. Additionally, majorities of online daters say it was at least somewhat easy for them to find others that they found physically attractive, shared common interests with, or who seemed like someone they would want to meet in person. But users also share some of the downsides to online dating. Roughly seven-in-ten online daters believe it is very common for those who use these platforms to lie to try to appear more desirable.
Other incidents highlight how dating sites or apps can become a venue for bothersome or harassing behavior — especially for women under the age of Online dating has not only disrupted more traditional ways of meeting romantic partners, its rise also comes at a time when norms and behaviors around marriage and cohabitation also are changing as more people delay marriage or choose to remain single. These shifting realities have sparked a broader debate about the impact of online dating on romantic relationships in America.
Others offer a less flattering narrative about online dating — ranging from concerns about scams or harassment to the belief that these platforms facilitate superficial relationships rather than meaningful ones. This survey finds that the public is somewhat ambivalent about the overall impact of online dating. adults conducted online Oct. The following are among the major findings. Experience with online dating varies substantially by age. Beyond age, there also are striking differences by sexual orientation.
There are only modest differences between men and women in their use of dating sites or apps, while white, black or Hispanic adults all are equally likely to say they have ever used these platforms. At the same time, a small share of U. adults report that they found a significant other through online dating platforms.
This too follows a pattern similar to that seen in overall use, with adults under the age of 50, those who are LGB or who have higher levels of educational attainment more likely to report finding a spouse or committed partner through these platforms.
Online dating users are more likely to describe their overall experience with using dating sites or apps in positive, rather than negative, terms. For the most part, different demographic groups tend to view their online dating experiences similarly.
But there are some notable exceptions. While majorities across various demographic groups are more likely to describe their searches as easy, rather than difficult, there are some differences by gender.
There are substantial gender differences in the amount of attention online daters say they received on dating sites or apps. The survey also asked online daters about their experiences with getting messages from people they were interested in.
And while gender differences remain, they are far less pronounced. Online daters widely believe that dishonesty is a pervasive issue on these platforms. By contrast, online daters are less likely to think harassment or bullying, and privacy violations, such as data breaches or identify theft, are very common occurrences on these platforms.
Some experts contend that the open nature of online dating — that is, the fact that many users are strangers to one another — has created a less civil dating environment and therefore makes it difficult to hold people accountable for their behavior.
This survey finds that a notable share of online daters have been subjected to some form of harassment measured in this survey.
Fewer online daters say someone via a dating site or app has threatened to physically harm them. Younger women are particularly likely to encounter each of these behaviors. The likelihood of encountering these kinds of behaviors on dating platforms also varies by sexual orientation. LGB users are also more likely than straight users to say someone on a dating site or app continued to contact them after they told them they were not interested, called them an offensive name or threatened to physically harm them.
The creators of online dating sites and apps have at times struggled with the perception that these sites could facilitate troubling — or even dangerous — encounters. And although there is some evidence that much of the stigma surrounding these sites has diminished over time, close to half of Americans still find the prospect of meeting someone through a dating site unsafe.
Americans who have never used a dating site or app are particularly skeptical about the safety of online dating. There are some groups who are particularly wary of the idea of meeting someone through dating platforms.
What's more, staying inside the app provides you with an extra layer of protection. Some messaging systems with dating apps do not allow people to send photos or links, which can really reduce the number of unwanted photos you get. Eventually, you will want to talk with someone on the phone, either after you have met or beforehand. But instead of giving out your cell number, consider getting a Google phone number and forwarding it to your phone.
It is pretty easy to set up. Once you log in to Google Voice, you simply choose your area code and select an available number. The instructions on the rest of the set-up process are pretty simple to follow. Avoid letting someone know exactly where you live. Instead, arrange to meet in a public place and provide your own transportation. You also should let a close friend know where you will be and when you will be home.
You want your friends to know as much information as possible should something go wrong. Once on your date, be sure you stay aware and alert.
Do not leave your drink unattended and keep the first few dates short. You may even want to bring a self-defense tool with you such as pepper spray or a high-powered flashlight. And, if the person you are meeting is making you uncomfortable or scared, enlist the help of a friend in leaving the situation.
Remember, you should never feel bad about putting your safety first. Even if you have to do something rude to escape a situation, you need to make sure you are safe. Dating apps can work to connect you with potential partners. Studies show more and more people are meeting their romantic partners online every year.
If you are looking to meet your partner online, know that it is very possible. It's estimated that nearly 27 million people are using smartphone dating apps in the United States.
There are many free online dating apps that have security features in place designed to protect the people who use them, such as Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder. There are also ways you can ensure your own safety such as not giving out personal information and limiting social media exposure. Online dating in the United States—Statistics and facts.
Pew Research Center. Online dating. Romance blossoms on the internet, but there is still public concern about the safety of online dating. Sharabi LL, Caughlin JP. Deception in online dating: Significance and implications for the first offline date.
Barrada JR, Castro Á. Tinder users: Sociodemographic, psychological, and psychosexual characteristics. Int J Environ Res Public Health. Chin K, Edelstein RS, Vernon PA. Attached to dating apps: Attachment orientations and preferences for dating apps. Cacioppo JT, Cacioppo S, Gonzaga GC, Ogburn EL, VanderWeele TJ. Marital satisfaction and break-ups differ across on-line and off-line meeting venues. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Holtzhausen, N. et al. Swipe-based dating applications use and its association with mental health outcomes: a cross-sectional study. BMC Psychol ; Finkel EJ, Eastwick PW, Karney BR, Reis HT, Sprecher S. Psychol Sci Public Interest. Paul A. Is online better than offline for meeting partners? Depends: Are you looking to marry or to date? Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
By Sherri Gordon Sherri Gordon is a published author and a bullying prevention expert. By Sherri Gordon. Sherri Gordon. Sherri Gordon is a published author and a bullying prevention expert. Learn about our editorial process. Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals.
Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. Amy Morin, LCSW. Medically reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW. Learn about our Medical Review Board. Table of Contents View All. Table of Contents.
Dating App Facts. Choosing a Dating App. Staying Safe. Frequently Asked Questions. Are There Times It's Okay To Lie? Dating Apps Don't Inhibit Love, Study Finds. Tips to Help You Date More Mindfully. Frequently Asked Questions Do online dating apps work? How many people are using online dating apps? Are there any free online dating apps that are safe? Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, the author of the bestselling book "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," and the host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. Over the past several years, the popularity of online dating has skyrocketed compared to where it originally started. In fact, dating websites and apps have given single people a convenient new way to connect with people.
But, with the ease of dating websites and apps comes some new issues, particularly in the form of safety. For instance, interacting with strangers online can put you at risk for identity theft, online harassment, stalking, digital dating abuse , catfishing, and other scams. And, if you do decide to meet up "in real life" IRL with someone you met on a dating app, you need to ensure your physical safety as well. To make navigating the online dating scene a little easier and safer, we have compiled a list of important facts about online dating.
We also have put together some tips for selecting the best dating app for you as well as included key tips for staying safe in the online dating world.
Whether you are new to online dating, or you consider yourself a pro, it helps to have a clear understanding of what dating apps offer including how often they are used, how they are viewed by others, and even how honest people are when building their profiles.
Here is everything you need to know about the online dating industry. It's estimated there are 44 million people using dating websites and nearly 27 million people using smartphone dating apps in the United States in The number of people who use dating websites is estimated to increase to 53 million by The number of people in the United States who are willing to try online dating has increased, and overall, people believe that online dating is safer.
To some, it probably comes as no surprise that people may lie when using dating websites and apps. However, one study reported that most incidents of lying on an online dating site were minor when compared to more extreme types of lies like catfishing. For instance, heterosexual people tended to make minor exaggerations in an attempt to seem more attractive to the opposite sex. Men tended to say they were a few inches taller than they actually were, and women tended to say they were a few pounds lighter than they actually were.
While some people think dating apps are only for "hook ups," research shows that the reasons people use dating apps vary. One study found that these reasons tend to fall into six different categories:. People may use a specific app based on the type of relationship they're looking for. One study notes that people who wanted casual relationships reported using Tinder more often, and those who wanted more serious relationships reported using OkCupid more often.
You might consider using an app that thoughtfully matches you with another person if you're looking for a more serious relationship, versus an app that focuses more on photos.
For instance, Plenty of Fish matches people based on behavioral patterns and even provides a compatibility score. One study found that marriages where couples had first met online were linked with higher rates of marital satisfaction and lower rates of breaking up compared with marriages that began in more "traditional" ways, like meeting through mutual friends. Of course, you're not guaranteed to have a longer-lasting relationship if you meet your partner online.
But studies like the above do suggest that online dating websites and apps may offer an advantage over meeting someone in person. With online dating, you can often get a better understanding of what someone is looking for upfront, as opposed to meeting someone in person who doesn't intend on starting a serious relationship.
With dating websites and apps, you can learn about someone's values and interests even before meeting them—this may help you meet people who are more compatible with you. Some people treat online dating like shopping. They swipe through photos looking for the perfect mate, often dismissing someone more quickly than they would have had they first met the person face-to-face. Consequently, online dating can have a negative effect on self-esteem , whether someone is pursuing people who don't reciprocate or they are not getting as many matches as they hoped they would.
For this reason, it's important to use dating websites and apps mindfully. Make sure you don't spend too much time per day on the app, work on your self-confidence outside of dating, and have patience throughout the process of finding a partner. When it comes to selecting the best online dating app for you, reading reviews and comparing apps can get confusing, especially when the features and options vary widely and are constantly changing as developers modify dating websites and apps.
With more than 7, dating apps worldwide, there is a lot to choose from. But, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Follow these few simple steps to help you find the best app for you. Online dating can be a risky endeavor because there are so many unknowns. Consequently, you want to be sure that the app you select has some built-in safety features. Ideally, the app will promote its safety guidelines on the sign-up page. But if they do not, or if the safety guidelines are particularly hard to find, you may want to find a different app.
For instance, Tinder has a photo verification feature that offers people the opportunity to take a photo in real-time of themselves, and Tinder matches this photo with the person's profile to prevent catfishing. A blue checkmark appears on the profiles of those who are photo verified.
When online dating, you may come across people that you feel are behaving inappropriately or who are just plain toxic. If this happens, you want to be able to report their behavior as well as block them from contacting you. It is important to know upfront about how the safety features of the dating website or app. If there are no ways to report inappropriate messages or block people from contacting you, you may decide to avoid using a service altogether.
Most dating apps, like Hinge, allow you to report suspicious or inappropriate messages from other people. Hinge, like other dating apps, has a mission statement supporting respect for other people on the app and a "zero-tolerance" policy for discrimination , threats, or harassment. Dating sites like Match. com and EHarmony also provide tips for using their services, like advising against giving out personal information—such as your social security number or your home address—and to be wary of anyone asking for financial help.
When reviewing an app, check to see if you are able to control the visibility of your profile. Ideally, you want an app that allows more options to secure your profile. The fewer options you have, the more exposed your information is on the Internet.
For instance, Hinge offers several options for people to control who they see and who sees them. Just remember, the more options an app provides in this area, the better.
No one likes receiving unwanted photos or creepy messages, which certainly is a possibility within dating apps. As a result, it is best to select an app that requires both people to have an interest before messaging can take place. This way, you can reduce the number of unwanted messages you get and limit it to only the people you want to be communicating with.
Many online dating apps use your location as a way of allowing you to find possible matches. However, make sure the app allows you to have some control over this setting. It is never a good idea to have an app that allows complete strangers to pinpoint where you are or even find your specific neighborhood. Most dating apps have both a free version and a paid version. As a result, you might not want to pay for a membership before you even know if you like the app or if it will be useful.
And having the free version is not going to keep you from meeting new people. When you are first starting out, it can be a lot more beneficial to try several different apps to see what works rather than purchasing the premium membership before you have even taken it for a test drive.
Most dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge allow people to share data from their social media profiles. This is mostly harmless, but be aware of how much informaton is revealed on your dating profile as a result. Remember, you do not know the people on the dating app. You also want to keep where you went to school and even your employer private. Making this information available means that even after you have blocked people through the app, they still could still find you and harass you through social media.
While you are never to blame if someone behaves in a predatory or disrespectful way toward you in the online dating world, there are things you can do to stay safe. Here are some useful safety tips you can put into practice right away to help you be more mindful. When developing your dating profile, avoid using the same photo that you have on your social media accounts. If you use the same photo as your Facebook photo or your Instagram page, it is really easy for someone to do a reverse image search with Google.
As a result, if you are using the same photo on all your accounts, it is much easier for someone to find you on social media. When developing your online dating profile, make sure you do not include your last name, contact information, nicknames, or social media handles. You want to keep the personal details to a minimum. After all, if you come across someone you don't trust, you don't want them having too much information about you.
You may even want to tighten the security on your social media accounts to add another layer of protection. For instance, on Facebook, you might adjust your settings so your page is private and is only able to be viewed by "friends," not "friends of friends.
When you are messaging with a potential date, or even after a few dates, it is best to message one another inside the app. Although this might be inconvenient, if something doesn't work out, you do not have to worry about the fact that the person has your cell number. What's more, staying inside the app provides you with an extra layer of protection. Some messaging systems with dating apps do not allow people to send photos or links, which can really reduce the number of unwanted photos you get.
Eventually, you will want to talk with someone on the phone, either after you have met or beforehand. But instead of giving out your cell number, consider getting a Google phone number and forwarding it to your phone. It is pretty easy to set up. Once you log in to Google Voice, you simply choose your area code and select an available number. The instructions on the rest of the set-up process are pretty simple to follow.
Avoid letting someone know exactly where you live. Instead, arrange to meet in a public place and provide your own transportation. You also should let a close friend know where you will be and when you will be home. You want your friends to know as much information as possible should something go wrong. Once on your date, be sure you stay aware and alert. Do not leave your drink unattended and keep the first few dates short. You may even want to bring a self-defense tool with you such as pepper spray or a high-powered flashlight.
And, if the person you are meeting is making you uncomfortable or scared, enlist the help of a friend in leaving the situation.
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You can also find apps that cater to specific dating pool preferences. Therefore, try to create a "tag" or nickname that you can use on dating sites. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. Table of Contents. adults conducted online Oct. Pluralities also believe that whether a couple met online or in person has little effect on the success of their relationship. Do not leave your drink unattended and keep the first few dates short.Categories Relationships Dating Online Dating Online Dating Services How to Use Online Dating Sites Safely. Download Article Explore using online dating Article Steps, using online dating. Log in Social login does not work in incognito and private browsers. Plus your instincts from your communications and their photos may provide you with valuable insight into the person. Tips and Warnings. It's one of the first serious questions people ask on dating apps, and sometimes you have to answer it while creating the profile itself. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.