What a difference a decade makes. An Oxford University international study has revealed that 30% of men and women who use the Internet and are interested in starting a relationship have tried online dating sites. That’s up from 6% in 1997. The term “Internet Dating” includes sites that match people as well as social networking sites where people can meet.
The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) conducted an online questionnaire with 12,000 couples from 18 countries, all of whom had regular access to the Internet. The most interesting findings break down like this:
- Middle-aged men and women (aged 40-69) were the most likely to use online dating sites, with 36% revealing that they met their current partner online.
- The idea that social networking and online dating is for youngsters bit the dust with only 23% of those 18-24 saying that they had started a relationship from the Internet. This certainly stands to reason, if you consider the many other ways younger adults have to meet potential partners.
- Study co-author Dr Bernie Hogan, Research Fellow at the OII, said: ‘Finding your partner online was once regarded as a bit of a novelty, but this survey suggests it has become a common if not dominant way of meeting new partners, particularly if you are between 40 and 70 years old.
- Some trusted old ways of meeting a partner are in decline. “Church Events”, “Family “Gatherings” and “Shared Hobby Activities” have all diminished in the past decade. For example, only 1 in 15 people cited “Church Events” as the place they met their partner.
- Some tried and true old ways are still going strong. “Clubs or Bars” and “Mutual Friends” clocked in at 69% and 67%.
- There also seems to be a strong cultural influence on impressions of Internet Dating. For example, Users in Northern European countries are slightly but significantly more likely to rely on one-to-one dating websites while those in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations are more likely to use social networking sites as well.
- The most gregarious online nation appears to be Brazil – more than eight of out ten (83 per cent) of those interviewed who had access to the internet said they had met someone who had been first introduced to them online.
- Japan, a country known for embracing technology in so many ways, internet users were rather reluctant to engage with online dating.