Opinions & Editorials

Dating In A Digital Age

Traditional ways of courting are seemingly a thing of the past. Nowadays, if you’re a college student looking for romance, it might only be a click, swipe or text away.

Each day, our generation becomes more familiar with the growing presence of finding love online. Over the past few years, there has been an influx of websites, apps and services specific to online dating. In fact, staticbrain.com provides statistics regarding online dating and it is estimated that over 40 million people in the United States have at least tried online dating once.

As college students, we are used to being up on the latest, fastest and newest of just about anything. This billion-dollar industry also includes some services that are tailored specifically towards college students.

However, just like anything else, the digital dating world is not independent of criticism. There are plenty of reasons to hop on board and explore this [fairly] new craze for yourself. By the same token, a certain degree of caution should always be taken when exploring new things, and in this case, people…

Some of the Pros:

Settings?

Probably some of the most attractive aspects of online dating are the individual tailorings that are available. One can filter what type of person they’re looking for, which can either be very intimidating or very inviting. Some websites cater to specific interests such as religious groups, and on more general websites you decide how much of your information you’d like to give out.

One and Done

You don’t go on a date hoping it will go poorly, but sometimes your expectations aren’t met—and that’s okay. Because online dating is so untraditional, most first dates are actually the first time people meet. You can often walk away with a second date or a new friend. There is less of a history between the pair than two people who have met before in person. Therefore the option to walk away is often easier to take in relationships that begin online.

Control

You’ve got it—from your pictures to your profiles, from your messages to your replies; you’re in total control. You can initiate, expedite, pause or even end your online presence in a few clicks of your mouse. Remember, an often-overlooked attribute of online dating is that it can end as quickly as it can start.

 

Some of the Cons:

Tradition

Many people still hold great value in finding ‘love’ the old-fashioned way. Traditional dating may have held greater value or deeper connection since there is a prior history; often the first date is not the first time the pair has met. There’s a big difference between laying your eyes upon someone for the first time and swiping through a picture on your smartphone.

The Fake Build-Up

Horror stories of false representation through online dating might be enough to keep some of us awake at night. In extreme circumstances, we’ve heard of something popularly referred to as ‘catfishing,’ intense cases of online identity fabrication. Fear of fake representation upon meeting has been enough to prohibit some from online dating websites. While these cases are rare and far between, it’s always safer and smarter to meet first in a public space.

Fear

People simply do not know enough about online dating in order to feel comfortable with it—comfortable with using it, asking about it or supporting its growth and continued interest. Specific to college students, many feel that online dating shouldn’t be applicable. Since peers surround us, why should online dating be necessary when traditional dating should/could occur? With over 40 million people exploring the growing culture of online dating, don’t be fearful of asking or learning more about the trend.

 

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