Who would’ve thought that there would come a day when one could order groceries to their doorstep and find hot singles in their area with the swipe of a finger? The twenty-first century has revolutionized technology and in doing so, has given rise to a new trend: Online Dating. Be it Tinder, ChristianMingle, OkCupid or even Grindr, online dating has become the latest fad that single people seem to gravitate towards because firstly, it is a simple and convenient way to find new and interesting people around them. Secondly, initiating conversations with strangers on online dating sites and apps helps to reduce fear of rejection in people and also because it provides them with a source of entertainment. Thirdly, online dating opens up a platform for millennials to find more compatible partners for themselves. There is no doubt that with the changing of times that peoples’ mindsets would change too, thus the shift in attitudes of people from traditional dating to modern day online dating should not come as much of a surprise to society. In 2016, it seems as though a man’s best friend is his phone, and he should not be judged for using his phone as a wingman to try and find love or even a hook-up for the night.
The first online dating, www.match.com, service began in 1995, and since then there has been a surge in the number of online dating platforms available. As the world modernizes and technology has begun to advance, people seem to have less time to go out on a daily basis to find and meet new people. No longer are people able to find the time to head out to bars and pubs in the evening to chat up a girl or guy that they would either like to get to know more, or merely want to ‘hook up’ with. Between work, spending time with family and keeping up a social life, no one finds the time to leave their houses to meet new people. Online dating however, has changed the ball game forever. No longer do people have to worry about leaving their house to find and connect with interesting people around them, for they can now do it with the flick of a finger and the click of a button. Over the past decade, online dating has become a highly visible and widely used strategy to find a partner (Sautter, Tippett, & Morgan, 2010), and there is no longer a social stigma attached to the concept. Now, people are able to interact with and get to know more than one person at a time from the comfort of their own homes. Often times, people form platonic bonds with people they match with on these apps and websites, bonds that last lifetimes.
Teenagers and young adults have been the victims of low self-esteem. Often times, they suffer from having a low self-image of themselves, and this begins in high school, usually because they feel like they are not good enough Many young adults refrain from pursuing the person that they like out of fear of rejection. However, with the rise of online dating services, Rosenfeld & Thomas (2012) found that online dating, as compared to offline dating reduces the fear of rejection in people. They found that by eliminating face-to-face interactions at the time of interacting, reducing the social stigma of rejection through anonymity, providing alternative attributions for nonresponse other than rejection (e.g., “She didn’t see the message,” “Did I send her my contact information?”, etc.), and eliminating rejection due to dating unavailability (i.e., all members of the online dating community have signaled that they are available to date) the fear of rejection would decrease. Due to the fact that one is able to set up their own profile and people match with them with the intention of getting to know them, the concept of being rejected is almost nullified. Thus, a lowering fear of rejection can be a substantial attraction for joining an online dating site and should increase the number of new solicitations relative to those found offline. By receiving attention from other’s who they match with, often multiple people, adolescents and young adults find their fear of rejection decreasing and their self-esteem and confidence increasing! One in 10 Americans have reported using an online dating service or mobile application to find their partners, and as many as 66% of these online daters have gone on an actual date with the person they met online (Duggan and Smith, 2014). Web-sites such as Match .com, eHarmony.com, and Zoosk.com have served as effective initiators of romantic relationships (Finkel EJ, Eastwick PW, Karney BR, et al., 2012, Cacioppo JT ,Cacioppo S, Gonzaga GC, et al., 2013). Modern online dating services allow people to set up their own profile the way they would like. This means that one is allowed to choose the pictures that they would like to put up on display for others on the platform to see, they are able to set restrictions on age, gender and even the distance of a person, can write a little about themselves in their ‘bio’. Recently, one of the top ranking online dating apps, Tinder, began a new trend where one is able to link up their Instagram profiles to their online account, one is also able to see if they have any common connections and mutual interests with others they find on the app, and as off late this summer, a new feature was added where one could make a group with some of their friends and then go on group dates/hang outs. All these new features make it easier for one to find someone who is very compatible with them. The fact that one is able to go on group dates with their friends and other’s they have matched, begins to eliminate the feeling of total uneasiness around a stranger.
It’s hard to make time to find a one night hook up in the twenty-first century. It seems to be very inconvenient for millennials to head out to a bar, buy the person they want to pursue that evening a drink, flirt with them and then take them home.
Nowadays, they do not feel the need to waste their time or money on such things, as they have apps which conveniently enable them to find a willing and compatible partner who is willing to have a night of fun with them.
Rosenfeld and Thomas (2012) recently conducted a nationally representative longitudinal survey of how couples meet and stay together and found that online dating is the fastest growing means for unmarried couples to meet. Among sampled heterosexual couples who met in 2009 (the last year of the survey), 22% met their partner online. Like them, many other researchers have conducted surveys and found that many people actually ended up marrying people they had met on online dating servers and applications. This proved that often times online dating helps match and bring together people who are compatible together as opposed to offline, traditional dating.
Thus after taking into account the aforementioned points, one must not be too hasty when completely disregarding online dating as an acceptable platform to meet and date people. While the act of online dating has received a lot of backlash in the past, as the world is changing and becoming more open minded, the social stigma attached to it is slowly fading and it is become a more acceptable social fad. While it is agreeable that online dating does have its negative aspects and disadvantages, the fact that many people have been able to successfully find their happy ending through this mechanism proves that it is not a tool that was set up for disaster.
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