hether your preference is Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Grinder, or Plenty of Fish, online dating can be a really simple way to meet people. Choose a username, upload your best selfie, jot down a couple of lines about yourself, and let the matches start flowing in. You might have some horror story dates and meme-worthy pickup lines after getting into the swing of things, but who knows, you might even meet “the one”. While a lot of avid online daters have seen great success and had positive experiences with dating apps there is no shortage that is taking place on dating apps.
Let’s Start With The Advantages
Before diving into the negatives associated with online dating let’s talk about how online dating can be positive. A recent PEW Research survey found that online dating can help people with a small pool of potential partners, such as those seeking same-sex partners, to find a match. The survey found that 28% of LGB adults and 11% of straight adults who are either married or in a committed relationship met their partner online. It's safe to say online dating has really assisted the LGB community, but now let’s dive into the negative side of the story.
Harassment is Common For Everyone
The same study by PEW Research examined the experiences of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults who have used an online dating app. Researchers measured several forms of harassment and found that 69% of the LGB community experienced harassment, compared with 52% of straight users. Here's a breakdown of the results.
- 56% of LGB users received a sexually explicit message or image they did not ask for, compared with 32% of straight online daters
- 41% of LGB users have been called an offensive name on a dating app, compared to 25% of straight users
- 17% of LGB users have been threatened by physical harm, compared to the 7% of straight users who this has happened to.
It's important to note that the study's results are from dating apps as a whole and doesn't seem to delineate between data gathered from dating apps that are created specifically for LGBT users and those that are not. Conceivably, dating apps created specifically for the LGBT community would result in less harassment targeted towards members of that community which might affect the overall amount of harassment experienced by users.
What Should We Think Of Online Dating?
Since there is always a degree of anonymity involved with all online interaction, there will always be some form of negative interaction for those involved. While most people tend to be decent in their behaviour online, there will always be those who aren't, and this is a problem no one can ever fix. Whether you are looking to find your soulmate or just to have some fun, it helps to enter the online dating world without being naive to the potential risks. Keep your expectations realistic when using dating apps and stay guarded and smart.