The number of internet-based relationships is increasing as more people become acquainted with the internet and as more personal gadgets that access the internet are acquired. Most of these relationships are romantic. The evidence from research suggests that they have the potential for adverse effects of existing relationships as well as on face-to-face relationships. According to Smith and Duggan, one in every ten Americans has accessed an online dating site of mobile app on dating. Many people have friends who have met a long-term partner or spouse through the internet or online dating. In recent years, public attitudes on online dating have relaxed and become more optimistic in recent years as opposed to the few years after the advent of the internet. A research by the Internet project of the Pew Research Center shows that since 2005, 11% of American adults as well as 38% of those who are “single and searching”have used mobile dating apps or online dating sites. 7% of all cell phone application users (totaling to 3% of all American adults) indicated that they had accessed a dating site using a mobile dating app. There have been negative impacts reported in research where online relationships are said to cause infidelity, poor quality or lack of social abilities and confidence in face-to-face relationships. This paper examines three scholarly articles to answer the questions: How many people depend Internet sites to find a spouse in today's society? What is the impact of the Internet on men’s and women’s lives? What are the effects of internet relationships?
Finkel, Eastwick, Karney, Reis and Sprecher (3) in their article investigate whether online dating leads to better romantic outcomes as opposed to offline conventional dating. These Authors concede that there is a strong foundation made up of scientific research which evaluates the impact of the internet dating on the initiation, development and maintenance of romantic relationships. This research explores numerous domains, most of which investigate personal relationships directly. The article draws upon the sum of scientific literature related to romantic relationships and their effects. According to Finkel, Eastwick, Karney, Reis and Sprecher (6), dating sites provide users with three basic classes of services, which make them favorable among many people. First, they provide access. Access is the exposure of the user to opportunities to meet people as well as the exposure to people they would not normally encounter through conventional means of meeting people. Web pages and mobile apps provide numerous user profiles which people can browse to pick a “friend” or “partner” who best suits their preferences in terms of appearance, career, dreams, ambitions, hobbies, religion, family background, gender, etc. Users are given the power to contact these people at the click of a mouse button. However, the authors note that it is not always that access is guaranteed.
The contacted user may choose not to respond. Secondly, dating sites offer communication. Different Computer-Mediated-Communication (CMC) methods are available to users. People may communicate through instant messages or real-time methods such as live video chats. The third class of services is known as matching. This involves mathematical algorithms which identify potential partners based on their preferences and characteristics. Today, complex algorithms provide increase efficiency in matching people who are likely to end up liking each other. Finkel, Eastwick, Karney, Reis and Sprecher (3) examined the fundamental differences between conventional dating and online dating and conclude that online dating may ameliorate the time-consuming and largely frustrating activity of pursuing an emotionally satisfying and committed romantic relationship. Identifying a romantic partner can be a daunting task. However, online dating helps an individual to overcome some of the hurdles that hamper the start and sustenance of a romantic relationship. This means that online dating does lead to better romantic outcomes as opposed to offline conventional dating.
Colley and Maltby (2005-2013) examined the impact of internet relationships on men and women. The study also extends research on gender differences in internet usage and access and how this affects the impact. Colley and Maltby (2005) indicate that most researches have shown that more women have met a partner online as compared to their male counterparts. The authors concede that the wide differences in access may also be attributable to a number of socioeconomic and other factors and not on gender alone. However, the gap that is associated with gender may be as a result of male stereotypes associated with computer use, cultural linkages between technology and gender as well as gendered communication and cognitive preferences. There are differences in the way men and women use the internet. Most men may visit sports or game websites while women may visit email websites. Men are likely to visit chat rooms rather than email websites. The study conducted by Colley and Maltby (2009) indicates that due to factors such as meeting new friends; partners and renewal of old acquaintances, internet dating sites had impacted the lives of men and women greatly. Colley and Maltby (2009) indicate that for both men and women, increased internet-assisted contact with either friends or family was the impact of online dating services in their lives. Use of email as a means of communication had impacted the lives of men differently from those of women. There is a higher frequency of mention by women than men that the use of internet sites had impacted their lives in meeting new friends, partners and renewal of old acquaintances.
Smith and Duggan (2) summarize findings from the PEW Internet Project (PIP) research on statistics regarding the use of internet dating sites by Americans. According to this research, one in every ten Americans has accessed online dating sites or mobile application on dating. Most Americans know at least one person who has found a long-term partner or spouse through internet dating. Generally, the research indicates that perceptions on internet dating have become more positive than they were a decade ago. The study shows that 11 percent of all internet users in America have used a dating site such as Match.com, OKCupid.com or eHarmony. 7 percent of mobile phone app users, who represent 3% of all adults, indicate that they have used an app on dating on their phones. Putting all these figures together indicates that 11% of American adults have either used dating apps or visited internet sites for the purpose of dating. Demographically, online dating is prevalent among Americans between the mid-20s and the mid-40s. 22% of young people between the ages of 25 and 34, as well as 17% of those between 35 and 44 years, are online daters. Internet dating is very popular among college-educated people and suburban and urban residents. About 38% of “single and searching” Americans have accessed online dating sites or apps at one point. 66% of American online daters have gone on an actual date with someone whom they met online. 23% of people whom access online dating services indicate that they have met a long-term relationship or spouse. There is a strong movement from conventional dating to internet-assisted dating, and the negative perceptions against online dating have cooled off. This is indicated by statistics that 59% of internet users agree to the statement” “online dating is a good avenue for meeting people.” This is a 15 point increase from the finding in 2005, which showed that only 44% of internet users agreed to this statement Smith and Duggan (2). In addition, while 47% of internet users agree that the internet dating enables people find a better match in 2005; 53% of internet users answered the same way in 2013.
There has been an increase in the number of internet-based relationships corresponding to an increase in computer and internet literacy. In addition, there is an increase in the number of personal gadgets that can access the internet. Most internet/ online dating activity is aimed at romantic relationships. Finkel, Eastwick, Karney, Reis and Sprecher (3) indicate that there are three basic classes of services that make online dating advantageous. These are access, communication and matching. Online dating helps people succeed in overcoming the frustrating activity of pursuing an emotionally satisfying and committed romantic relationship. This leads to improved romantic outcomes. According to Colley and Maltby (2005-2013) indicate that, for both men and women, the impact of online dating services was increased internet-assisted contact with either friends or family. Overall, the impact of the internet dating on people’s lives cannot be underestimated.
Colley, Ann , and John Maltby. "Impact of the Internet on our lives: Male and female personal perspectives." Computers in Human Behavior 24 .12 (2008): 2005–2013. Print.
Finkel, E. J., P. W. Eastwick, B. R. Karney, H. T. Reis, and S. Sprecher. "Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science." Psychological Science in the Public Interest 13.1 (2012): 3-66. Print.
Smith, Aaron , and Maeve Duggan. "Online Dating & Relationships." Pew Internet Project (PIP) 2.3 (2013): 1-56. Print.