Social networking vs online dating

Even today, online dating is not universally seen as a positive activity—a significant minority of the public views online dating skeptically.At the same time, public attitudes towards online dating have grown more positive in the last eight years: Additionally, 32% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” This is the first time we have asked this question.Moving beyond dates, one quarter of online daters (23%) say that they themselves have entered into a marriage or long-term relationship with someone they met through a dating site or app.That is statistically similar to the 17% of online daters who said that this had happened to them when we first asked this question in 2005.In general, online daters themselves give the experience high marks.Some 79% of online daters agree that online dating is a good way to meet people, and 70% of them agree that it helps people find a better romantic match because they have access to a wide range of potential partners.People in nearly every major demographic group—old and young, men and women, urbanites and rural dwellers—are more likely to know someone who uses online dating (or met a long term partner through online dating) than was the case eight years ago.And this is especially true for those at the upper end of the socio-economic spectrum: Even as online daters have largely positive opinions of the process, many have had negative experiences using online dating.

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At the same time, the proportion of Americans who say that they met their current partner online has doubled in the last eight years.Half (54%) of online daters have felt that someone else seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.And more seriously, 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.Some 6% of internet users who are in a marriage, partnership, or other committed relationship met their partner online—that is up from 3% of internet users who said this in 2005.On an “all-adults” basis, that means that 5% of all committed relationships in America today began online.

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