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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Opinion

Online dating just lazy way around socializing


David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

This is the age of technology. It seems that every day a new piece of technology graces the shelf with its presence, making the older model obsolete. One can pay bills online, shop online and go to school online.

So, of course, someone found a way for people to search for love online.

Online dating is a concept that has been around for a while — and has been considered taboo by many people since its creation. However, online dating has skyrocketed in recent years, making people forgo the idea of actively meeting someone so that they can sign up for a monthly membership.

According to statisticbrain.com, there are about 54 million single people living in the United States, and 40 million of them have tried online dating at one point or another.

Until recently, it has seemed that the cyber-dating world has been geared more toward older age groups, with TV commercials that star middle-aged couples who are searching for true love after years of prowling the mundane dating game. However, it now seems as if dating sites are beginning to target young adults as well as older couples.

The seemingly infinite range of dating websites is categorized by race, sexual preference, religious ideology, hobbies, age and jobs. In addition, there are also dating websites that are geared toward people who are searching for wealthy men, women who prefer men with mustaches, people who are in prison, people who consider themselves less than aesthetically pleasing and people who are looking for an older partner to take care of them financially.

As there are sites for all of these interesting categories, there are also sites aimed towards college students.

According to pewinternet.org, more people between the ages of 18 and 29 have online-dated than people in any other age group.

The reason behind each individual’s leap into cyberspace romance differs. Some people are merely looking for a one-time hookup, while others are searching for a casual boyfriend or girlfriend. Then there are the people who are scrolling through a multitude of profiles in an endeavor to find their soulmate.

Petroleum engineering senior Sohaib Abbasi has a theory as to why more young adults are being drawn to the Internet for dating.

“People now are more used to using (the) Internet, not just for social purposes or educational purposes, but for dating too. People find it easier to talk to others online than face-to-face,” Abbasi said. “(Years ago), there was so much more face-to-face exposure, but now people have cell phones and Internet, and they’re not confident talking to someone face-to-face.”

Dating websites are attempting to reel in a younger audience by making the sites more accessible to the average person. Attempting to pique the interest of college students, dating sites are moving toward phone applications.

With apps like OkCupid, Tinder, Plenty Of Fish, How About We, Zoosk and Let’s Date, creators try to bring true love — or true lust — directly to the tips of people’s technology-hungry fingers.

While some of these apps are free, some charge a monthly fee. College students on a ramen-noodle budget would probably lean more toward the free apps like Ok Cupid, How About We, Plenty Of Fish, Date My School or Zoosk.

Sometimes finding someone who shares similar goals and interests can seem difficult in a college of more than 40,000 students, but the fact that people are resorting to filling out questionnaires to find someone is the impatient and lazy way out.

For everything that these sites are capable of, there is the more socially active option nearby. Instead of signing up for a dating site to find a hookup, one could always go to a bar or somewhere else where inhibitions are lower. As for actual relationships, one could go somewhere that people with similar interests go. If neither of these things sounds appealing, waiting is a viable option.

As there are people who will fearlessly “chat” and “wink” with strangers online, there are the people who are skeptical of this somewhat radical relationship option. Some people veer away from dating sites because they fear the exposure it brings.

We have all heard the clichéd horror stories of meeting someone online who turns out to be an overweight, shirtless man who enjoys playing World of Warcraft in the dimly lit basement of his mother’s house instead of the hunky, animal-loving male model whom he says he is online. After all, MTV created the show “Catfish” about this concept.

Usforable.com highlights this concept in a more realistic tone. The article points out that “many (students) overlook the fact that online profiles can easily contain false information or lack thereof — providing misleading information from height and weight to an unknown criminal record.”

There have been countless incidents of rape and murder that happened when a person believed that they knew another person well. I’m also sure that dating sites take a fair amount of precautions to ensure that no member of their site is a rapist or mass murderer, but I still feel more comfortable meeting a person face-to-face before telling that person any information about my life.

I’m a firm believer that if something is meant to happen, it will happen. Searching for love via the Internet seems like a way to expedite the natural course of things. Finding a soul mate is not a priority for me at this time. I’m more focused on finding the answer to financial debt while also finding out how to eat whatever I want without gaining weight or exercising.

College students shouldn’t be so concerned with finding someone at this age. Students should be focusing on grades — not the amount of views on their dating profile.

Senior staff columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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