They are important today — roughly one of every four straight couples now meet on the Internet.
(For gay couples, it's more like two out of every three).
But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts."There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.
"And mostly they're pretty unfounded."Rosenfeld, who has been keeping tabs on the dating lives of more than 3,000 people, has gleaned many insights about the growing role of apps like Tinder.
The idea that the new technology is going to undervalue some really important social values is real and rampant.
This environment, mind you, is just like the one we see in the offline world.
There’s no obvious pattern by which people who meet online are worse off. For people who have a hard time finding partners in their day-to-day, face-to-face life, the larger subset of potential partners online is a big advantage for them.
People have had that fear about the telephone and the automobile.
They have even had it about things like washing machines.