Statistics on the dangers of internet dating

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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.

Half (54%) of online daters have felt that someone else seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.

And more seriously, 28% of online daters have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.

Yet even some online daters view the process itself and the individuals they encounter on these sites somewhat negatively.

Around one in ten online daters (13%) agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate,” and 29% agree that online dating “keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” Familiarity with online dating through usage by friends or family members has increased dramatically since our last survey of online dating in 2005.

Compared with when we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in 2005, many more Americans are using online tools to check up on people they used to date, and to flirt with potential (or current) love interests: Young adults are especially likely to flirt online—47% of internet users ages 18-24 have done this before, as have 40% of those ages 25-34.

And while younger adults are also more likely than their elders to look up past flames online, this behavior is still relatively common among older cohorts.

Fully 34% of Americans who are in a committed relationship and have used online dating sites or dating apps in the past say that they met their spouse or partner online, compared with 3% for those who have not used online dating sites.

Even today, online dating is not universally seen as a positive activity—a significant minority of the public views online dating skeptically.

At the same time, public attitudes towards online dating have grown more positive in the last eight years: Additionally, 32% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” This is the first time we have asked this question.

Younger adults are also more likely than older ones to say that their relationship began online.

Some 8% of 18-29 year olds in a marriage or committed relationship met their partner online, compared with 7% of 30-49 year olds, 3% of 50-64 year olds, and just 1% of those 65 and older.

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