One in ten Americans has used an online dating site or dating app. That is one of the findings in the new Pew Research Center Internet Study about how people are wedding technology with nuptials. The information from the Pew Study is consistent with the experience of KTRH’s John Labus, who met his wife on an online dating site.
“What you find out is after you leave college your circle of friends and circle of associations grows really small really quickly,” John says. “So where do you go out and meet somebody once you’re in to your mid 20’s or you’re approaching 30? And especially if you work in a business like radio where you have a tendency to move around the country, where do you go about meeting that new circle of friends and really get plugged in to the social scene without going to the bars?”
66% of people who try out an online dating service end up going out on a date, and 23% end up getting married.
Dr. Paige Padgett of UT Health Sciences Center has been studying online dating and is one of the most knowledgeable scholars. “We went first from print ads in the back of the classifieds to online websites and now it’s an app on your phone. Before, online websites for dating were attractive because you could do it based on your work schedule, you could be home in your pajamas finding your soul mate. And now you can be on the subway or at a red light or at Starbucks and do it with your phone app. So it is definitely the evolution of dating.”
Dr. Padgett has made personal and sexual safety for women online a focus of her studies, and says there are three types of safety that have to be considered: physical, sexual, and online dating violence, such as online stalking and texting. She asked women who met men online if they felt safe, and found only 8% said they felt unsafe.
Dr. Padgett developed the following list of recommendations for women to apply when using online dating services or apps:
1) Screen the individual through an internet background check, either free (Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler) or paid
2) Check for inconsistencies in their communications – for example if they say they haven’t been in a relationship for 2 years and then say they broke up last month
3) Trust your gut instinct
4) Talk on the phone, you can tell a lot by the individual’s phone manner
5) Meet in a public place
6) Meet during the day
7) Have your own transportation
8) Have a safe call – a friend who will call to check on you and how things are progressing
9) Carry mace or a personal security device