The Positive Influence Of Online Dating On Society And Relationships

Tinder, Grinder, eHarmony, and Bumble. These five words had zero correlation a decade ago, but today connect millions of users worldwide. These platforms revolutionized dating by creating online match making services available at consumers’ fingertips. Not only do they connect potential suitors, but they also provide a platform on which to communicate. This is usually in the form instant messages. Since the introduction of these services, they have gathered a stigma around them. At their worst, these sites have been labeled “Sex slot machines”. This comes as no surprise, mostly because these changes come in stark contrast to practices of the past. Previous generations were forced to meet potential partners in person and muster courage to find their relationship status, whereas today it’s as simple as swiping on photos. This can come off as superficial, but this shallow analysis misses the positive influence these services have had on individuals and their relationships. Pew Research (2015) stated that “its seen that at least twenty percent of Americans between the ages of 25-45 have used online dating sites. Because of the drastic changes taking place in modern dating practices, individuals are afforded more confidence than ever, and relationship formations strengthened.

While single, the general feeling seems to be that others possess something you don’t. And prior to these technological advances individual really had limited knowledge of who was and wasn’t single or interested in meeting others. These services help to eliminate the ambiguity and let other know they are not alone in their search. It is difficult to imagine others in your situation, or even the group of people in the same situation. For some people, the virtual barrier allows them to form relationships that would otherwise not be possible. One place this is made abundantly clear is Reddit. The message board style site lends itself to community sharing. This is where I found the story of This Reddit post tells one man’s personal experience on tinder and the positive effects it had. The piece begins with an introspective analysis of this young man’s character. This man, A 22-year old self-proclaimed virgin, speaks of his struggles with socialization as well as self-image. Under such duress, he decided to turn to the popular dating app tinder. By taking the first step of joining it opened him up to a world of new experiences. A person who would otherwise be planted indoors by his computer made personal connections and gained much needed self-esteem. Tinder allowed this young man to enter a realm foreign to him. The thread is filled with thousands of other stories of similar experiences.

Before it is assumed that these benefits are only evident in the lives and experiences of male users, I think it imperative to discuss an article by Kathyrn Hensch. This article gives one woman’s review of tinder, and its services after a little over a year of use. Like most, she was apprehensive at first. The common thought is “Am I so desperate I need to look online?” Eventually grow accustomed to activity. The leap from face to face socialization into the digital word is attached to some sense of shame until people realize what Ms. Hensch did. She said “What I’ve found most interesting about my dating app experience is just how many people I know are on there. It’s comforting knowing that I’m not the only one”. This experience helps to show individuals that they are not alone in their endeavor to find a companion. This fact removes some of the unwarranted stress from the situation, and eventually leads to a more open disposition. Though the author never found true love on the app, she did find her confidence and the opportunity to make new friends. This story though nothing mind blowing, would be considered a positive experience. These are not isolated incidents either, according to Pew Research (2015) 66% of these online daters(group sampled) have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site. This is up a whopping 23% from the last study done by the institution in 2005.

Though a boost of confidence and self-assurance are great, I believe online services offer more than that. They aid forming stronger, more satisfying relationships for their participants. This is especially true for people who have a hard time finding partners in their day-to-day, face-to-face life. Of those sampled in a Pew Research (2015) study, “23% have met a spouse or long term partner through these sites. ”

This New York Times article looks to overthrow the stereotype that tinder is a “sex slot machine” for individuals. It begins by spinning the tale of two star crossed lovers that met on the site. Like a fairytale, it took Casey all of 1 date to find her forever. This story is just an example of the outcomes reached with help of the service. The research scientist consulted for the article declared that because non online daters can only speculate about the possible options, they are more apprehensive to enter the scene. As a result, tinder users are significantly more open to relationships/commitment. This was backed by a provided survey of ~6000 people. Half of which used online dating while the others did not. The piece goes on to say that despite being labeled a hookup app, the survey also revealed that online daters are more open to the idea of a committed relationship.

59% of all internet users agree with the statement that “online dating is a good way to meet people,” a 15-point increase from the 44% who said so in 2005.

57% of all college graduates know someone who uses online dating, and 41% know someone who has met a spouse or other long-term partner through online dating.

There’s always a fear that comes with a new technology. The idea that the new technology is going to undervalue some really important social values is real and rampant. People have had that fear about the telephone and the automobile. They have even had it about things like washing machines. If people weren’t going to go to the laundromat to wash their clothes together, how would we spend time together? That was something people were legitimately concerned about. But now that we have washing machines and know that people still talk to each other it’s clear that that fear was overblown, that it was unnecessary. Through simple observation and empathetic thinking, it can be clearly seen that online dating services improve the wellbeing of many, and relationship formation as a whole.

10 October 2020
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