Online dating can be a lot of fun, and it certainly can be a great opportunity to meet your soulmate, the “real deal.” However, there is also another side that can leave those looking for love disappointed, hopeless, and sometimes even too scared to try dating apps ever again.
Harassment, unsolicited pictures, money scams, physical and sexual abuse, and in some cases, even murder can happen as a direct result of online dating. Users should always be cautious, and they should never forget the importance of their own safety, even when searching for true love. In short, the dangers of online dating statistics are here to remind you what matters the most — your safety.
The Top 10 Most Dangerous Facts of Online Dating
- Most people report unwanted contact from certain people to be their biggest problem.
- 33% of female online dating users were called offensive names by other users.
- The LGB community reports a greater number of threats and problems.
- The dangers of internet dating affect women almost twice as much as men.
- Each year, approximately 100 murders are committed by online predators.
- Online dating cost victims around $50 million in 2011.
- Many people choose to lie on their profile.
- Women mostly lie about their looks, while men most often lie about their financial status.
- According to a study, people who use dating apps are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse.
- In the UK, dating app-related crimes have doubled between 2015 and 2018.
General Online Dating Facts Regarding Safety and Potential Dangers
1. Most people report that unwanted contact from certain people is their biggest problem.
More precisely, 48% of women and 27% of men report that people have continued to message them even though they had told these individuals that they were not interested.
2. The dangers of dating online affect women almost twice as much as men.
When reviewing the negative encounters on different online dating platforms, 46% of female users have reported receiving unwanted pictures or explicit messages in 2019. Men only stated the same in 26% of instances in the same period.
3. 33% of female online dating users were called offensive names by other users.
When looking at the statistics on the dangers of online dating, offensive name-calling is in third place. However, it doesn’t only affect women. A 2019 report shows that 22% of male users also experience this problem.
4. Threats are the least common, but they do occur.
When looking at online dating statistics a bit closer, it’s evident that things can get pretty serious in some cases. For instance, 11% of female users received threats of physical harm in 2019. In contrast, only 6% of male users reported the same problem.
Online Dating Safety Statistics
5. Americans universally see online dating as a safe way to meet others.
(Pew Research Center)
Generally speaking, 53% of Americans (even those who have never used these apps) say they think it’s a safe way to meet someone. However, 46% see these platforms as not too safe or as potentially dangerous places to meet future partners.
6. The skeptics are mostly people who have never used these apps.
(Pew Research Center)
Around 52% of people who have never used these apps have voiced their concerns regarding the dangers of online dating. On the other hand, only 29% of people who have used these apps stated that they are skeptical about their safety.
7. More women than men think that online dating is dangerous.
(Pew Research Center)
With a ratio of 53% vs. 39%, women are more inclined to regard these websites and apps as unsafe.
8. Age also plays a role when talking about safety-related questions.
(Pew Research Center)
As it seems, older people are more inclined to disregard the dangers of online dating. Around 59% of US citizens (ages 65 and up) stated that online dating is safe. Also, 51% said the same in the 50 to 64 age group, and only 39% of adults under 50 agreed.
Statistics of Online Dating Dangers
9. Apart from straight women, the LGB community also reports a greater number of threats and problems.
(Pew Research Center)
As it turns out, sexual orientation can also play a role in defining the overall experience that users have on online dating platforms.
More than half (56%) of LGB users say that they’ve received unwanted explicit messages and images (for straight users, the average was 32%).
The same trends apply to other problems as well. LGB users are more likely to continue to receive unwanted messages and are more likely to get called offensive names and be threatened on these platforms.
10. Each year, approximately 100 murders are committed by online predators.
(Internet Predator Stats)
It’s also reported that there are around 16,000 abductions and thousands of rapes each year. While these numbers aren’t strictly a part of the statistics on the dangers of online dating, it’s always better to know the risks.
11. Online dating cost victims around $50 million in 2011.
(Internet Crime Complaint Center)
According to a 2011 report, the dangers of online dating statistics aren’t only restricted to physical and mental abuse. That year, a total of 314,246 complaints were filed for online money scams, and 5,663 of them were linked to dating sites. In these schemes, victims lost around $8,900 individually, on average.
12. Many people choose to lie on their profile.
Another reason why online dating is dangerous is the fact that, in the US, more than half of online daters (53%) lie in their dating profile. In most cases, lying is more common for women, according to a study of over a thousand online daters from the UK and US.
13. Women lie about their looks, men about their financial status.
In the same study, around 20% of women posted younger pictures of themselves, while men (in 40% of cases) lied about their job. More specifically, they’d usually claim to have a better paying job than they actually do. Surprisingly, though, nearly a third of women also lied about their financial status.
14. From 2014 to 2017, 17 people in the Greater Manchester area reported being raped after online dating.
Online dating crime statistics are, expectedly, not very positive. These 17 people were using Tinder and Grindr apps, and in total, 58 people have reported falling victim to crimes that are connected to online dating during that period.
15. It’s difficult to track online-dating crimes.
Having a stronger grasp on the dangers of online dating statistics has proven to be a much more difficult task than previously anticipated. According to the NCA, the UK’s National Crime Agency, the problem starts with some police forces not collecting dating app-specific data. The second issue is that some people fail to mention whether dating apps were involved or not. Lastly, both victims and predators hide crimes — only an estimated 17% of all rapes, whether they are app-related or not, get reported to the authorities.
16. People who use dating apps are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse.
A study of 666 students has found that smartphone users who also happen to use dating apps had double the chance to experience some form of sexual abuse, ranging from having unprotected sex without consent to rape.
These studies that focus on the dangers and statistics of online dating can help both the authorities and the app creators gain more insight into risk-assessment and sexual abuse prevention.
17. Online dating sites do not have much to say.
While most dating apps and sites are concerned with user-safety, when asked about the specific measures they take, they seem to be very silent.
According to experts, for a business that brings millions in revenue a year, online dating sites should focus more on safety and risk-assessment than they currently do. At the moment, most sites have only general safety guides and suggestions on safe online dating.
Some sites and apps have also added a few security features, like blocking, to decrease the danger of online dating. Other companies also have people working for them who’s job is to sniff out fake profiles and con-artists.
18. Taking online dating into the real world can have fatal consequences.
(Michael Largo: The Final Exit: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die)
So far, getting an exact number on online dating murders statistics is difficult since, in most cases, it’s hard to detect direct app-usage. Figures state that from 1995 to 2007, homicides happened in 40 instances as a result of online dating. However, the actual number might be even higher.
19. In the UK, dating app-related crimes have doubled between 2015 and 2018.
Data from the 23 of the total of 43 police forces in Wales and England have found that the reported figures for online dating crime statistics have increased from 329 in 2015 to 658 in 2018.
Out of these, 286 were sexual, which is also an increase from 2015’s number of 156.
20. Professionals advise online daters to be cautious.
(Get Safe Online)
With all the disadvantages of online dating statistics at hand, experts suggest that online daters be cautious about giving their private information and full name on these websites. They also note that users should stay away from suspicious online activity and requests. Moreover, they emphasize the importance of staying in public when organizing the first few face-to-face meetings. If you find these tips useful, here are a few other dating stats that you should know about in order to never forget that safety comes first.
How many people use online dating?
According to a market revenue report which closely examined available annual data starting from 2017 suggests that the current global number of people who use online dating apps and websites is roughly about 196 million. Among them, 160.3 million users aren’t paying online dating users, while the remaining 35.7 million users pay a certain amount of money to gain access to premium features.
According to the report, these numbers will only grow in the forthcoming years. For example, the estimated number of users will be around 276.9 million in 2024.
Is online dating dangerous?
(Pew Research Center)
According to research data, nearly 30% of American adults have used some kind of dating app at least once, and the overall experiences with them are generally positive. However, younger women did mention the risks of online dating, which, in their cases, involved explicit messages and even harassment.
Nearly 60% of American women between the ages of 18 and 34 who used these apps said that some users continued to message them even though they had stated that they were not interested. 57% also said that they had received explicit messages and images.
What are the dangers of online dating?
(Taylor Francis Online)
An older report from 2009 involving 29 participants has revealed that there are quite a few risks when it comes to dating online.
The 29 in-depth interviews were evaluated using thematic analysis. According to the subjects, the most prevalent online dating dangers were deceit, lies, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, and sexual violence. The participants also mentioned various physical and emotional risks, like meeting untrustworthy and dangerous people.
What are the pros and cons of online dating?
Experts have come to a conclusion that, when it comes to online dating in general, there are three main areas with the most advantages and drawbacks:
Access — Online users have the opportunity to choose from a larger number of potential partners. On the other hand, though, the larger pool of people can be overwhelming, leaving the users “shopping” for the perfect partner endlessly rather than starting a relationship and committing to it.
Matching — When looking at the pros and cons of online dating, matching can give users the opportunity to find people who may prove to be more compatible. Matching, however, can be a tricky business. Online platforms simply aren’t a good testing tool for every individual, since, as mentioned, people may be trying to present themselves falsely.
Communication — Computer or mobile-mediated communication can provide users with a safe space where they can talk at their own pace without any commitment. However, one of the biggest online dating problems is the fact that this type of communication gives very few chances for face-to-face interaction and leaves too much space for “forging” false character traits in order to attract others. Also, there’s no physical contact involved, making the relationship somewhat artificial and a bit emotionless at its early stages.
Is it dangerous to meet someone online?
(PeW Research Center)
Numbers indicate that, in the US, the majority of users (57%, or six out of ten) have a positive experience with online dating. On the other hand, four out of ten described their experience as somewhat negative, and only 9% of the respondents said that they had a very negative experience with online dating.
Moreover, online daters, even though having a generally positive attitude, have reported certain dangers of dating online. 45% of the respondents said that their recent experiences had caused them to become frustrated, 35% of them mentioned becoming a bit more pessimistic, and a quarter of them reported feeling more insecure.
Also, it appears that young women have it the hardest on these platforms. 19% of women aged between 18 and 34 said that they had experienced threats of physical harm and violence.
By taking everything into consideration, we can conclude that dating online can become potentially harmful if you are not cautious enough. These dangers of online dating statistics should serve as a representation of what the most potential risks are and for whom.
On the other hand, these statistics should also give people a better understanding of how the scene really looks like and what precautions people should take. By playing it safe, users are much more likely to find love and meaningful relationships instead of harm and violence.