Online Dating: Still Popular, Some Concern Over Safety

  • March 06, 2006
  • By Mary Madden and Amanda Lenhart

There is now relatively broad public contact with the online dating world. Some 31 percent of American adults say they know someone who has used a dating website and 15 percent of American adults – about 30 million people – say they know someone who has been in a long-term relationship or married someone he or she met online.

Yet, dating websites are just one of many online avenues that can facilitate a romantic connection. Three out of four Internet users who are single and looking for a romantic partner have done at least one dating-related activity online—ranging from using dating websites, to searching for information about prospective dates, to flirting via email and instant messaging, to browsing for information about the local singles scene.

Some 11 percent of all Internet users and 37 percent of those who are single and looking say they have gone to dating websites. A majority of them say they have had positive experiences and believe their use of such sites helps them to find a better match. A notable number of these online daters have found firsthand that lasting romance can be forged online; 17 percent of them say they have entered long-term relationships or married someone they met through the services.

At the same time, while online dating is becoming more commonplace, there are still concerns in the wider public about the dangers of posting personal information on dating sites and about the honesty of those who pursue online dating.