Opinion: Online dating should be approached with caution

Opinion: Online dating should be approached with caution

Online dating has revolutionized the way dating works, but it comes with serious drawbacks.

Whether it’s using an app, a website or simply meeting via the internet, online dating has opened the way for people to meet and form relationships. Particularly for college students, online dating has found immense popularity.

Unfortunately, online dating is only as good as the person using it and is subject to several issues that arise from how the various platforms work.

When creating a profile for online dating apps or websites, the idea is to accurately represent yourself so that the matches made by the site are also accurate. What usually ends up happening is that details are exaggerated, or even fabricated, in an attempt to make the candidate seem better.

A study by the Pew Research Center found that 54 percent of the online daters they surveyed reported having encountered someone who seriously misrepresented details about themselves in their profile. Furthermore, 28 percent of daters reported having been harassed while dating online.

While the stigma behind online dating has been dispelled, it still has a connotation of being used by people looking for short-term gratification. This issue arises when dating websites actually encourage this type of behavior by design.

An analysis of online dating by the Association for Psychological Science determined that websites claiming to match people based on “scientific algorithms” failed to prove their accuracy. Instead, users are more likely to find it difficult committing to one person since the pool of potential candidates is so large.

The aforementioned study by the Pew Research Center also found that 33 percent of people that have used online dating have never actually gone on a date with someone they met on the website and that only 5 percent of Americans who are married or in a relationship claim to have met their significant other online.

Relationships formed online are usually based on the promises made in profiles, or in the personas perpetuated by social media. When the relationship progresses from online to in-person, the disappointment of not having expectations fulfilled can easily ruin a potential relationship.

For people using online dating in order to find meaningful relationships, extreme vigilance and discretion are necessary to avoid the inherent pitfalls.

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