Even today, online dating is not universally seen as a positive activity—a significant minority of the public views online dating skeptically.
At the same time, public attitudes towards online dating have grown more positive in the last eight years: Additionally, 32% of internet users agree with the statement that “online dating keeps people from settling down because they always have options for people to date.” This is the first time we have asked this question.
Compared with eight years ago, online daters in 2013 are more likely to actually go out on dates with the people they meet on these sites.
Some 66% of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through an online dating site or app, up from 43% of online daters who had done so when we first asked this question in 2005.
And more seriously, 28% of online daters have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.
Moving beyond dates, one quarter of online daters (23%) say that they themselves have entered into a marriage or long-term relationship with someone they met through a dating site or app.
That is statistically similar to the 17% of online daters who said that this had happened to them when we first asked this question in 2005.
Online dating is also relatively popular among the college-educated, as well as among urban and suburban residents.
And 38% of Americans who are single and actively looking for a partner have used online dating at one point or another.
Compared with when we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in 2005, many more Americans are using online tools to check up on people they used to date, and to flirt with potential (or current) love interests: Young adults are especially likely to flirt online—47% of internet users ages 18-24 have done this before, as have 40% of those ages 25-34.