There is little doubt that the field of dating has taken a different turn since internet use has become almost universal. There are now a myriad of web sites that cater to those who want to seek love online. These include eHarmony and Match.com, and apps such as Score and “Happn”. This is in addition to the proliferation of social media usage such as Facebook and Twitter. In fact, 27% of 18-24 year olds now use online dating sites, and 5% of married or committed couples met online (Smith and Anderson, n.p.). Despite the greater use of online dating, it is still dangerous, allows people to be untruthful and is not realistic.
When setting up an online dating site, one has to put up a picture, fill out information about themselves and oftentimes take some sort of personality or compatibility test. The issue is that pictures and profiles are not vetted for truthfulness, and many people stretch the truth or outright lie to receive more attention. A survey of one thousand dating site users found that 53% of people lie on their dating profiles; women are more likely to lie than men by ten percentage points (Hodge, n.p.). Most lies have to do with looks, such as height and weight. In fact, 20% of women use and old picture of themselves (Hodge, n.p.). Men are motivated differently, and 40% lie about their job to make it sound more prestigious (Hodge, n.p.). One third of the people surveyed admitted they lost out on second date because their lies were too extreme (Hodge, n.p.). It is amazing that a person could blatantly lie on their profile, and expect no one to notice. It is interesting to note that, despite what one would think, the older person gets, the more likely they are to be truthful (Hodge, n.p.). Perhaps this is because older people are more likely seeking to have a real relationships after years of youthful mistakes.
Another issue with online dating is that it simply is not realistic. As already discussed, many people lie, so one often does not get was they expect from a person. The other issue is that the anonymity of using the internet allows for a user to romanticize and fantasize about the other person (Bryner, n.p.). This build-up of opinions about the other person either creates a huge let down upon meeting, or creates an intense relationship which quickly fizzles out. Michael Norton, from the Harvard business school, asserts that women are often more unrealistic about online dates then men (Bryner, n.p.). This is a result of a women’s desire for a soul mate, versus a man who is typically seeking a more casual hook up (Bryner, n.p.). Either way, a study found that people about to go out on date have much higher opinion of the person before meeting; they also think they are more similar to the person before meeting then after (Bryner, n.p.). A humans, our psychological ability to build up an experience before it happens makes online dating very unrealistic; we are too likely to expect more then what we are actually going to get and therefore creates an unrealistic outlook. This may also be why so many dating sites have found that their customers quickly become unhappy with the services they receive (Bryner, n.p.). Meeting someone without the use of the internet means that the relationship grows more organically and without the unrealistic expectations that can easily grow as one fantasizes about a stranger they have never met.
The biggest issue with lying online is that the lying could have a more menacing reason to exist. Rapists and pedophiles are known for using the internet to seek their next targets. Rape as a result of online dating has increased 450% in five years ("Reports Of Rape Linked To Online Dating Rise 450 Percent In Five Years | VICE News", n.p.). Online dating gives women a false sense of security, because they feel they already know the person from their online conversations. As a result they are more willing to take risks that would not be taken by a women who just met a guy in a social setting. Although teens my not be directly on traditional dating sites, they are on social media and social apps. They connect with strangers just like adults do; in fact, eight percent of teens have met with someone they only knew online, while another sixteen percent had considered it ("Online Predators - Statistics | Puresight | Pedophiles/Online Predators", n.p.). The problem is that the 16 year old boy or girl they thought they were going to meet can all too often end up being an adult man seeking to exploit them. They have no way of knowing before arriving, and it is too late then.
There are many reasons online dating is questionable to use. Over half the people on online dating sites lie about themselves, people are set up for failure as they create an unrealistic idea of who they will meet and rape and pedophilia rates are climbing as a result of online dating. While there are some people who have a fairy tale story of meeting online, they are outliers and not the norm. It would be better if online dating did not exist at all.
Bryner, Jeanna. "Online Dating: Why It Fails". LiveScience.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
Hodge, Greg. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2012. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
"Online Predators - Statistics | Puresight | Pedophiles/Online Predators". Puresight.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
"Reports Of Rape Linked To Online Dating Rise 450 Percent In Five Years | VICE News". VICE News. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
Smith, Aaron, and Monica Anderson. "5 Facts About Online Dating". Pew Research Center. N.p., 2016. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.