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FILE - In this July 5, 2015, file photo, a man uses the dating app Tinder in New Delhi. Online dating is now hip with young adults, but not always for dating. Mobile dating apps such as Tinder incorporate fun elements and are dead simple to use. That’s luring adults ages 18 to 24, who traditionally haven’t been big online daters because they are already surrounded by lots of other young, single people. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File)
AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal
How desperate.
READY TO MINGLE

People who’ve tried online dating admit it’s dangerous and maybe a little desperate

By Alice Truong

Finding romance on the internet has really taken off since Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan gave it a whirl.

The two groups that saw the biggest uptick in using online dating sites in 2015 are the young (18- to 24-year-olds) and the older (late 50s to early 60s)—two demographics that historically have shied away from internet dating. Overall, 15% of American adults have tried online dating at some point, up from 11% in 2013, according to a new report today from the Pew Research Center.

While the majority of Americans believe that online dating is a good way to meet people, they’re well aware of the darker side of encountering strangers from the internet in real life as well. Of online dating users:

  • 45% agree that online dating is more dangerous than meeting people through other ways
  • 31% say that online dating “keeps people from settling down”
  • 16% admit that “people who use online dating sites are desperate”

Unsurprisingly, people who’ve never tried something like eHarmony or Tinder tend to be more negative about this whole online dating thing, believing even more firmly that users are desperate and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way.