Effect on Individuals

The rise of communication technologies has significantly influenced networking and the globalization of society, yet dating apps are still a wonder and their effects are still being researched. For this reason, a broader topic was researched: online dating. This post is focused on the perceived risks, dangers, and the intimacy involved in online dating.

Growing online dating users have lead researchers to conduct online, in-depth research experiments. 23 participants were interviewed and it was found they believed there was risk in online dating (Couch, Liamputtong, & Pitts, 2012). To combat risk, participants revealed they wanted to examine tangible cues in person, as a part of creating a foundation for the couple’s futures (Henry-Waring, Barraket, 2008).    Anticipated future face-to-face interaction, in addition to self-disclosure (honestly, amount, intent, and valence), can result in more successful relationships (Gibbs, Ellison, Heino, 2006).   Because relationships are the ultimate goal of dating apps, Tinder and Bumble have attempted to facilitate disclosure by providing text fields for biographies, images, and employment. But, it is also important to look at how gender and age may affect a person’s goal when using a dating app. In other words, who values interpersonal communication verses sex appeal.

It was found that generally, users value interpersonal communication and sex appeal when utilizing dating apps. The breakdown of which age group valued which trait can be found in the tables below:

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(Menkin, Robles, Wiley, & Gonzaga, 2015)

Generally speaking, older users rated sexual attraction as less important than younger users. On the other hand, only the youngest women valued interpersonal communication more than young men. Overall, women sited emphasis on communication over sexual attraction compared to men.

Today, more and more people are meeting online.  In a 2,252 participant experiment, it was found 42% of Americans know someone who has used an online dating site or app, and 29% of these Americans also know someone who met their partner this way (Pew).  While there are risks and dangers to online dating, the profound intimacy that can be fostered through these apps and sites should serve as an example that this is the new way to date.

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References:

Couch, D., Liamputtong, P., & Pitts, M. (2012). What are the real and perceived risks and dangers of online dating? Perspectives from online daters. Health, Risk & Society, 14(7/8), 697-714. doi:10.1080/13698575.2012.720964

Gibbs, J. L., Ellison, N. B., & Heino, R. D. (2006). Self-Presentation in Online Personals: The Role of Anticipated Future Interaction, Self-Disclosure, and Perceived Success in Internet Dating. Communication Research, 33(2), 152-177. doi:10.1177/0093650205285368

Henry-Waring, M., & Barraket, J. (2008). Dating & Intimacy in the 21st Century: The Use of Online Dating Sites in Australia. International Journal Of Emerging Technologies & Society, 6(1), 14-33.

Menkin, J. A., Robles, T. F., Wiley, J. F., & Gonzaga, G. C. (2015). Online dating across the life span: Users’ relationship goals. Psychology And Aging, 30(4), 987-993. doi:10.1037/a0039722

 

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