Older generations might remember things a little bit differently when it comes to love and flirting. These days, things have changed drastically when it comes to the dating world.
The arrival of many new online dating apps have altered the playing field, providing singles (or even not-so-singles) with many new options, though some would argue that the new approach takes away from the mystery and suspense of real-life human contact.
According to data coming from the United States, although there is a rise in the number of people using apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, OKCupid and many, many more – their number almost as infinite as people’s preferences and their specific use – the majority of users are not looking for a lifelong partner. In fact, studies show that most of them don’t even seem to be interested in developing a steady relationship.
More specifically, research held by the Pew Group showed that 59 per cent of people in question have created a profile on at least one of these apps, rising from 44 per cent in 2005 when the research was last conducted. When asked why they had created their profiles, the most popular response was “…just for fun”, while “one-night stand” came narrowly second as a reason for having a profile.
A MATTER OF SECURITY
An issue on people’s minds regarding the use of these online dating apps is the matter of safety, as personal data can very easily be lost through common schemes such as hacking or “catfishing”, whereby someone creates a fake profile and attempts to extort personal data from other unsuspecting users.
It is worth mentioning that 40 per cent of participants in Pew Research Group’s questionnaire admitted to have created a fake profile on a dating site at least once, proving how truly great those dangers are.
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YOUNG PEOPLE’S INTEREST
Many members of the older generation who lived through times of greater purity, where the whole love game was played at bars, pubs, or even through match-making, are left questioning the youth who seems to be doing everything through their phones.
What led to this dramatic shift? After a small investigation of our own, we arrived at the conclusion that it could be a culmination of various reasons and not just a single one.
The difference in the way we look for a partner could stem from the rise of technology and could go all the way to psychological issues, such as anxiety and stress.
Location also seems to play a big role, as people from Greece, where the way of life is much more laid back compared to that of Australia, do acknowledge the existence of these apps, but are less keen on using them.
THE SITUATION IN GREECE
Joanna, who lives and works in Athens, tells us that she does not really have much faith in dating websites, pointing out the advantages of meeting someone up close.
“Each person can present whatever they want on the apps. I also think that flirting is an incredible process in general. From a phone it’s really nothing special, plus you don’t know if what the other person is telling you is true or not. Whereas if you’re face-to-face, you can ask them and they can give you the answer you’re searching for,” she says.
Katerina, who also lives in Athens shares similar sentiments, whilst giving a very interesting characterisation for the social apps.
“The aspect of meeting someone and the excitement of wondering if they like you (or not) and the friction and interaction of flirting and face to face conversation are not there. These apps are like supermarkets! Like you’re shopping for people that are on online display! If you’re lucky and you fall into the small exception, then you might find someone. But that’s very rare,” she said.
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On the other hand, Dimitris, who has been using these apps himself for quite a while, digs deeper into the topic, as he singles out the reasons behind the huge rise in their popularity.
He told Neos Kosmos, “I don’t know if it’s the best way to meet someone, but it’s definitely the easiest, because in a single moment they allow you many options without having to put yourself out there. On the other hand, meeting someone outside like they used to has become a lot more difficult since people will rarely make the first move. They’re too shy. Unfortunately there’s the impression/prejudice out there that dating sites are not to meet people but just to have a good time for example, sex. On a personal level, I use them on two levels. On the one hand, I get to date people and on the other I might meet a potential partner who I can enjoy myself with.”
Dimitris also shared an incident during which he was involved in a relationship with someone he met through one of these dating apps.
“I remember when I met someone through a website and my circle found out about it, they reacted quite normally, considering we’re in Greece. At first they thought it was a little odd that I was able to develop a relationship through such a site because certain opinions have been solidified and in their mind there’s the impression that they exist for a single purpose, which is sex and nothing else,” he said.
UNDERLYING SOCIAL ISSUES IN AUSTRALIA
Down Under, the situation seems a little bit different, with the usage of these dating apps appearing to be less of an option and more of a necessity, at least based on the words of the people we had the chance to speak to.
Young Eleni, who is from a Greek family but has spent the majority of her life living in Australia, claims that young people feel they can only be themselves through the exchange of electronic messages.
“People have learnt to communicate better through social media. For me, the idea of shooting a text to someone is a lot less frightening than me calling them and saying ‘Hey, can I meet you in 5??’ And with these apps you’re still in your little bubble and your vulnerability isn’t out there as much. The days of calling up a household and saying ‘Can I talk to your son?’ are gone,” she said.
Dionysia who is also a Greek-Australian spending her days on our shores, feels similar, but states that she herself is not a fan of the apps.
“I feel a lot more comfortable expressing myself when I type or when I write. I get anxious when I talk in person, which is a whole other issue with the rise of technology. It’s scary to get close to people and become vulnerable to them,” she said.
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Dionysia shared her reasons for avoiding dating websites.
“Through Tinder, it’s basically all just ‘you’re hot, let’s meet up!’ but to me there’s a lot more than that. And that’s where the issue lies for youth in this day and age because I think a lot of people don’t realise the value of getting to know someone before they fall in love with them,” she said.
Through the data and through the words of the people who spoke to us, the constant rise in dating app usage is only a mild ‘symptom’ and not the entire ‘disease’ of our age.
It is a disease that stems from the rapid technological advancements and the many ways that affects our daily lives, which seems to have a negative impact on how we socialise with one another. However, it seems that the romantic days of courting someone at your local pub or nightclub are all but a distant memory.