There are serious pitfalls to avoid, of course: dodgy sites, "catfishing" and, worst of all, online predators.But despite the risks, online dating Online dating sites are databases that can match you to a partner with the qualities you prefer.We refer to these individuals throughout this report as “online daters,” and we define them in the following way: Taken together, 11% of all American adults have done one or both of these activities and are classified as “online daters.” In terms of demographics, online dating is most common among Americans in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s.Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters., it brings together like-minded couples in a non-threatening virtual space, so they can get to know each other before committing to a physical date.On top of the countless mainstream sites, there are specialized ones to help you find someone with the same religion, interests and sexual preferences -- whether you're seeking a friendly relationship, life partner or a one-night stand.Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?Of course, others have worried about these sorts of questions before.
Some 66% of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through an online dating site or app, up from 43% of online daters who had done so when we first asked this question in 2005.
But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.
"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.
The concept of meeting in cyberspace predates the World Wide Web.
The oldest dating site that's still around is Matchmaker, which started as a dial-up BBS in 1985 and ran on a Radio Shack TRS-80 with modems (above).Another clue of a pretender is a woman who has a poorly written profile.