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The Death of Online Dating Stigma




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For a long time after its inception as an industry, the idea of online dating was stigmatised. Though those who engaged in the pursuit knew otherwise, public perception was that it was a silly approach which unnecessarily rocked traditions. In recent years, however, this attitude has been consistently challenged enough to be completely overturned. With younger generations turning to online systems to meet partners, the environment has evolved, so how did we get here?

Being Prepared

While online dating can have very positive results, like anything online, it's best to first be prepared for bad actors. As many of us have learned, the anonymity granted online can drive scammers, and as mentioned in this article on scams by ExpressVPN, the online dating variety can take many forms. Popular online dating scam methods covered in this article include the asking-for-help scam, where a person fakes intimacy to gain trust and take another person's money. Another popular method is to link dates to malware, to gain control over a person’s devices to steal identifying or financial information. Don't let this discourage you, however, as also like any other part of the web experience, it's simple to stay safe if you adopt a proactive approach.

Fighting for the Traditional

The answer to why traditionalists push for older forms of dating isn't always complicated, it can quite simply come from the thought that older methods equal good, and new things mean bad. This might seem a reductive viewpoint, but as history has shown with streaming, video games, eBook readers, and smartphones, it’s often true all the same. As noted by Bentley, new represents a fear of loss, a change to a worldview that can be difficult to face. The difference today comes from how enough people are truly engaged with new systems, with experience slowly forcing a shift in long-held public opinions.

A Move Towards the New World

As for the popularity of new online dating systems, we have to consider why people turn to these systems, and real statistics on how often they're now used. The why is somewhat simple, as the modern life of adults has always made it tricky to find opportunities for dates. This is especially the case for those who don't like bars or don't care for randomly approaching others to find out if they're interesting or single. On a dating site or app, you know what you're in for and you have a far wider reach, saving time, effort, awkwardness, and hurt feelings.

Adoption rates of online dates are always changing, as covered in this survey by Statista. In a survey from 1995 to 2017, as the internet went from new to ubiquitous, the rate of heterosexual couples who met online went from 2% to 39%. With another study from Statista detailing nearly a doubling of revenue from worldwide paid online dating from 2017 to 2023, the expansion of this type of connection continues unabated.

As social media and mobile apps continue to take over, the growth of online dating in this world was only a matter of time. It might have taken a few decades to shake off early stigma and find its feet, but for users today of all ages, online methods of dating have quickly become a preferred choice. There’s a lot to gain this way, and little to lose, don’t be surprised to see this form of contact increasingly represent the status quo over the next decade.


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