We live in a world of technology. Everything in our life is based around it, from shopping to banking, from watching videos of cats to tracking how far we’ve walked. It is therefore not surprising that we turn to technology to help us find love. From how we meet, how we communicate, what we do on dates, to how we tell the world our relationship is ‘official’, the internet has revolutionised dating.
So why are so many people so sceptical of online dating?
I met my boyfriend about a year ago on Tinder, and it’s safe to say we have had a fairly mixed response when we have revealed that this is how we met. Quite a few people quickly change the subject of conversation or become very unsure as to what to say, which to me usually implies that they are silently judging us for meeting online. I do understand why some people are sceptical especially when they are faced with articles like the recent on which linked online dating to a rise in STIs. However, Tinder’s social media is filled with heart-warming stories of people who have ‘swiped right’ and are now engaged or married! This massive difference between the corporate marketing and the press headlines has made me wonder…
What do Brits really think of dating apps? Do people generally use them to find love, or sex?
Of the 1,000 UK adults OnePoll surveyed, only 32% have ever used a dating app or website. 25-34 year olds were the most likely to use dating apps (46%). Match.com was the most used (43%), closely followed by Plenty of Fish (38%) and Tinder (24%).
44% of those who have never used a dating site believe that dating apps are mainly used for hook-ups, however, the majority of those that use an online dating site say they are seeking love/long term relationships (43%). 17% used them for making friends or for someone to chat with, and 14% of dating app users admitted to using them for sex/causal relationships. Men were more likely than women to use dating sites to seek a casual relationship (23% compared to 5%).
The CEO of Tinder has recently come out to oppose the recent media criticism, by stating that 80% of Tinder users are seeking a long term relationship. However our research shows only 36% of Tinder users were looking for a long-term relationship/love, with 17% of them wanting to find a more casual relationship. 54% of 18 to 24 year olds use Tinder with most using online dating out of boredom or for entertainment (26%), not to find love.
60% of people surveyed believe that there is a stigma towards online dating. 38% of participants who’ve used a dating site were lucky enough for this to lead to a serious relationship, but only 29% of them told all of their family and friends that this is how they met their significant other. To be honest, I was also unsure whether to tell people, or if I should just make up a cute story as to how we met, but I don’t think we would ever have stuck to the agreed story! As well as those that don’t like to admit how they met their partner, 26% of those who have used a dating site/app do not tell anyone that they have even used one! The over 55’s were the most embarrassed (37%) about using a dating site. Why is there a stigma? What do those that don’t use them think is going on?
We also asked those who have never used a dating site, whether they would ever consider using one in the future (regardless of their current relationship status), and only 28% said yes. The main reason for never considering a dating site is safety (49%), closely followed by being worried that people lie (44%). Women were the most worried about the safety of online dating (65% to 30%). Obviously the safety of those on an online dating site is a serious issue and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The number of people being scammed by people they meet online is increasing and as a result the Metropolitan Police have set some guidelines for anyone who is worried that they may be talking to a scammer. A simple piece of advice is to reverse search a picture, it can be very helpful! I would also advise having at least one Skype chat before meeting.
It is possible that another reason for people not admitting to using sites is what it may imply about the user and their personality. Thankfully for me, and a lot of other dating site users, only 24% of non-online daters think that we are desperate! 62% of those who say they would never use a dating app think that online dating is mainly based on appearances implying a degree of shallowness. Furthermore, more than half believe that most people on online dating sites misrepresent themselves. This misconception may have been increased by the popularity of the movie Catfish, and the MTV show that followed it (which I have to admit is one of my guilty pleasures).
Even though there are negatives to online dating, if you keep your wits about you it can be a very enjoyable and rewarding process. But there are some that can take the online dating fun a little too far. On average, users visit their site/app twice a day, but a keen 8% visit more than 6 times a day.
Online dating gives you the opportunity to meet people you would not normally come across which is an important benefit for the 43% of respondents who agree that traditional dating limits you to a small circle of people.
Despite this, only 13% believe that online dating is the best way to find a serious long-term relationship. As some dating sites are based on algorithms, it could potentially lead to a stronger relationship than if dating is just based on those you would meet naturally or traditionally. I am not aware of how scientifically accurate and researched these algorithms are, but I would imagine it’s a little more scientific than just chatting to the hottest person in the bar. Quite a few of the free apps and sites do not have an algorithm to find perfect matches, however Tinder has recently announced a new upgrade to improve matches and interactions. Only allowing access to these extra features to paying members may not be the smartest move, as only 14% of Brits would ever consider paying for the use of a site or extra features.
62% of respondents agree that dating sites have completely changed the way we date, but this amount of change may increase in the future, as a report commissioned by eHarmony has predicted what we can expect for dating in 2040, including the use of virtual reality.
If you are currently single, I would recommend giving it a go. I’m not promising you will find your soulmate, but what do you have to lose? Go on, swipe right. it’s Christmas!
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