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The Student News Site of Mt. San Jacinto College

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Dating In The 21st Century

Dating in the 21st century is an incredibly dangerous double-edged sword, and it’s all because of the internet.
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The concept of the internet interfering with our social lives is not new. This is known news, but how does it affect the dating scene? Before, people would meet at the grocery store or maybe at an event they attended, but now, half the people we know are meeting online or through dating apps. A study conducted by Stanford found that “39 percent of heterosexual couples reported meeting their partners online compared to the 22 percent in 2009.”   This shows that the percentage is only increasing as the years go on, which makes sense since the internet was also rapidly growing at that time. In 2024, an article by Forbes Magazine states that “nearly half of Americans (45% of respondents)…reported online dating to be the top spot”. As times change, so will dating habits, but it’s interesting to note how this change can pose some challenges. 

Since the rise of social media, there has been a persistent need to be perfect in almost every aspect, with perfect pictures, hair, smiles, clothes, etc. People create this online persona, but what happens when those expectations are not met in real life? Catfishing is a serious issue regarding dating, but not in the ordinary sense you think of. Yes, some people will pretend they are someone else, which can also lead to a very big safety issue, but this happens in more than just looks. Sometimes, you will go on a date with someone who doesn’t quite look like the pictures they shared. That’s because social media and online dating are really a highlight reel—a compilation of your best moments. When meeting people in real life, hiding things you are so used to behind a screen is harder. People can also catfish their personality and intentions and be deceitful overall. 

Online dating makes infidelity a lot easier to commit and hide, which has increased the rate significantly. A survey by KRON4 revealed that over two in five (44.3%) have cheated on their partner”. All of these things pile up and make it hard to date online. There are so many things to be cautious of, but if so, why are so many people still using this as their main form of dating? Ever since the rise of social media and the internet, real-life social interactions have steadily declined. So many people are glued to their devices and forget to look up in hopes of having a genuine conversation with someone, walking down the street or even at the store. As a society, we have become desensitized to real human interaction, and besides all the issues that come with online dating, it has become the best option. 

With that being said, can it really be all that bad? There are some benefits to the internet and its influence on dating, such as staying in touch. The internet makes it remarkably easier to stay in touch with people you don’t see as often. Even if you guys follow each other on social media, there is a sense of being involved in their lives. An article on how social media affects relationships explains that it has “revolutionized long-distance relationships.” It allows for distance not to strain the relationship with the ability to see where people are, message them at any time, use FaceTime, Skype, etc. The internet can also bring people who once had distance or currently do back into each other’s lives. For example, many people began dating someone from high school years after graduation. Without social media, this would be a little harder because you wouldn’t have easy access to speaking to them again. Online dating can also serve as a filter. Although it broadens the horizons of people you can date, it can also narrow it down to your interests.

Since social media is a collection of everything we enjoy, looking at people’s pages can give you a sense of what that person likes to do, listen to, watch, etc. With this information, you can base how this would translate into your life. These small details that you can find so early on are things you probably wouldn’t even learn about a person without social media until the third or fourth date. It makes the process faster. After all, you often don’t have to worry about those big deal breakers because you usually see them before it even gets to the point of the first date. When you think of online dating, Tinder is the first thing that pops into people’s minds. An interesting fact about this app is that there are an estimated “1.18 million worldwide Tinder marriages every year.” Meeting the love of your life or future spouse is a possibility, and although the internet can be hard to navigate when it comes to dating, it can have a positive outcome. 

Overall, the dating world is often confusing. Once you learn to navigate the newly added layer of the internet that, fortunately, and unfortunately, will never go away, it will become easier. Online dating has both cons and pros, from catfishing to the possibility of reconnection and marriage. As an individual, it’s up to you to contemplate them and decide what’s best for you. Hopefully, this information will be useful in that decision-making process. 

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About the Contributor
Emma Rodriguez
Emma Rodriguez, Writer / Photographer
Hello everyone! My name is Emma Rodriguez and I am majoring in journalism, this is my last semester here at MSJC. I have always had a passion for writing, storytelling and photography and eventually being able to purse that as a career is my dream come true. My hobbies consist of reading, writing, photography, hiking, running, snowboarding and going to the beach. I started taking pictures in middle school when my uncle gifted me a canon camera and I have been in love ever since. My eventual goal is to mix my hobbies with my career aspirations and become a either an environmental journalist or sports journalist after finishing my bachelors at UC Santa Barbara. I am looking forward to being in Talon and gaining more experience and improving on my journalism skills!
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