Ask the Experts

Student Stigma

Lots of my friends use online dating apps. Are they just looking or do students really find romance with this?

Your short question exposes the major flaw in the online dating world. There seems to be more shopping and looking around, rather than true romantic outcomes. Research shows that over 15% of Americans have used online dating; however, 15% of marriages did not result from these virtual introductions. Let us answer your question and find the reason for this digital disconnect.

Most college students today will probably be baffled by the courting habits of their predecessors. They actually met each other in person at social events, college functions, cafes and frat and sorority haunts. Today’s technological world is different; dating apps have taken control of the destiny of romantic encounters.

Acceptance of online dating is now mainstream and it has lost a lot of the stigma attached a few years ago. A decade ago, very few people were exposed to it and viewed it as an inferior or synthetic way of meeting someone. Today over 50% of the public knows someone who dates online or is in a relationship as a result of it. More people of all ages are now taking to the internet to find romance.

The majority also think that using an app or website to find a partner is a lot easier, more efficient, and better at finding a like-minded person. Approximately 80% of Americans that have used online dating agree that it is a good way to meet someone.

The millennial adoption of online dating has spurred an explosion of apps in the marketplace such as Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid, reports Ocean SEO, boasting advanced algorithms to find you the perfect partner. The demographics are leaning towards college students and graduates with 46% of them knowing someone who has entered into a long-term relationship or marriage via a dating app. Those with more exposure to it have generally been more positive about the virtues of online dating.

There are some odd statistics with online dating; a third of people having used an app have never actually gone on a date and one in five have asked someone else to help with their profile. As with any new technology there are some down sides. Around 45% of online daters agree that it is more dangerous than traditional ways to meet someone. Out of this figure 53% were women and only 38% of men cited the dangers of online dating.

Fidelity is often questioned, as over 30% of people interviewed said that online dating prevents you from settling down because there are always more options of people to date. The stigma still sticks with 16% of those who say people using dating websites are desperate.

One is to use the Internet to research your date. A few Google searches will give you their professional information (LinkedIn) and their social information (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

There is a wealth of tools for people now to find love online and the numbers speak for themselves. Nevertheless, the vast majority of relationships still begin the traditional way, without the use of a smartphone and the internet. If you do decide go the online dating route, be sure to take precautionary steps in order to help mitigate the risks involved.

Internet dating has made people more disposable… Mark Brooks.

Martin J. Young is a former correspondent of Asia Times.