This piece was an assignment for an Intro to Media Writing course. The assignment was to select a Pew Research report published since December 2015 that is newsworthy and that you can get local examples and reactions for.
Trials and Tribulations of Dating in the Techno-Sexual Era
Most of the students asked at Salve Regina University said that they preferred meeting people in a traditional way. Adam Augusta, a sophomore at Salve, said that although he and his friends are on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, but they still prefer to meet people, “at a bar or party, especially in college.”
According to a recent study by Pew Research, 15% of adults admitted to have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps. When asked about this statistic, most of the Salve Regina students were shocked by this, and said that they believe that those numbers should be much higher. Most of the students asked admitted to having Tinder accounts or other online dating apps, but of those that were online, most of them said that they were not using it to look for a serious relationship.
The apps are designed with preference settings so that you can find people who are between 1 and 100 miles away from you, varying in sexes, and ranging in ages beginning at 18.
When asked what they made their profiles for, answers varied; they said they used it for fun, a laugh, or to kill time; all of the girls asked said that they used the apps for a confidence boost.
Sophomore, Robyn Alport said, “You always like to hear it. It makes you feel better!” But hidden in the compliments and praises are often unwanted sexual messages. Adam Augusta said that he has gotten, “just a lot of weird sexual stuff that you get from Tinder and Bumble and what not.” Billy LAST NAME, a freshman at Salve, recalled the strangest message that he has ever received, and said, “One girl started a conversation by asking me if I liked bread.” On the other side of the phone, Salve Regina senior Alexander Dimauro says that he is usually the one sending messages, and said “Just take my word that its probably pretty weird.”
But maybe there is more to these dating apps than, “Dashing good looks,” as sophomore, Gwen Plum said; many of the students, when asked “what makes you ‘swipe right?’” said that they will swipe right all of the time, if there is a dog in the picture too.
What society defines as a relationship has changed with this generation of technology and hookup culture. Although of all the students asked, many of them said that they had friends who met one of their significant others online, they also said that it has never been anything really serious and are, for the most part, short lived. When asked about the nature of the relationships that she knew, all beginning at a mutual swipe right, Kira Fox, a freshman at Salve “They break up so much that I don’t keep track of it anymore.”
The general consensus of those students asked was that although online dating can be an efficient way to meet people, it is not where near the same as traditional dating; but it seems that online dating has become a social norm in the techno-sexual era that we live in. The dating game has evolved from physical meetings and romance, to an a “grown up version” of the slumber party game “Hot or Not?”