Students study the attraction of online dating

John Bottala
Staff Writer

This semester a team of graduate students from the University of La Verne psychology department did a study of online dating among college students, and were surprised with the results the survey brought back.

“I was shocked that 41 percent of the students do like the idea of online dating,” said Shushan Khachatryan a graduate student at ULV who participated in the research.

The survey was sent out to 500 people on campus through STU info e-mail, ages raging from 17 to 62 years old. More than half of the sample were ages ranged from 17 to 25, with a wide range of demographics: 39 percent were Hispanic; 37 percent were White; 7 percent were Asian; 7 percent were bi-multicultural; 6 percent were African American; and 4 percent identified as other.

Online dating has become more popular with all the new social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, OKCupid and Plenty of Fish. People seem to be glued to their computers more than to socializing in public.

“We wanted to see how people meet, due to how many social networks we are dealing with today,” Khachatryan said.

Twenty four percent have used online dating sites such as Craigslist Personals, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, etc.

“People feel it is much easier to express themselves over the computer than face to face,” Khachatryan said.

Online dating makes people more comfortable when they meet in person; it is almost like an icebreaker.

“People seem to like the idea of getting to know someone online before you go out on a date. It takes the awkwardness away,” said Sarah Leclerc a graduate student at ULV who participated in the research.

It also may help the people who are uncomfortable in social situations break out of their shells.

“Online dating is a great way for people who have difficulty socializing and meeting new people to finally branch out and find someone however it takesaway from the authenticity of real dating and the courtship process,” Michelle Scribner, a sophomore anthropology major, said.

The study found 16 percent of the people were successful in finding partners to either talk to or date.

However, the data found that males use online dating sites significantly more than women for sexual relationships as opposed to finding love connections.

Research also found males tend to use dating sites more because it allowed them to be anonymous. This is an attractive quality because it is seen as an easier way for them to communicate.

“I was more surprised by the fact that the results showed something stereotypical, that men went online more so for sex than women,” Leclerc said.

“In college your heart gets broken a bit, online is like playing it safe, but you still risk your heart because people fabricate a better version of them online. People can manipulate who they are, but in person they lose the power, so to find true love there are no short cuts,” Haley Gripp, a freshman creative writing major, said.

John Bottala can be reached at john.bottala@laverne.edu.

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