Dim the lights, turn on the music, and log on. Adults who have internet access at home are more likely to be in romantic relationships than adults who don’t, a study presented Monday found.
Just over 82 per cent of adults in the US who have internet access at home also had a spouse or romantic partner, compared to just under 63 per cent of adults who did not have access to the worldwide web, the study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association says.
Other countries are also seeing a rise in the correlation between the internet and romance; the British Broadcasting Corporation conducted a global poll and found that internet users in Pakistan and India strongly believed that the internet is a good place to find a romantic partner.
The BBC poll surveyed users from all over the world who were asked a number of questions including if they believed that access to internet was a fundamental right for everyone, what they believed the internet should be used for, and what they themselves used the internet for.
The answers were interesting and varying amongst different countries. A surprising outcome that was revealed was that “around one in three internet users across the countries polled regard the web as a good place to find a boyfriend or girlfriend.”
In Pakistan these stats are even more astonishing as 60 per cent of Pakistanis “agree that the internet is a good place to find a romantic partner” and 59 per cent of Indian users surveyed believed the same.
The fact that 60 per cent of Pakistan’s internet users believe the internet is meant for such activities is significant. It is also representative of the very-real problem in Pakistan that there are few social avenues to meet members of the opposite sex unless it is through friends, at work or at family events.
Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University was the lead author of the study and along with his colleague’s analysed data from a national survey of 4,002 adults for the study.
“Our research suggests that internet access has an important role to play in helping Americans find mates,” said Rosenfeld. In addition to finding that people are more likely to be in romantic relationships if they have internet access in their homes, the researchers found that the internet is gaining importance as a place where couples meet, and especially same-sex couples. “It is possible that in the next several years the internet could eclipse friends as the most influential way Americans meet their romantic partners, displacing friends out of the top position for the first time since the early 1940s,” Rosenfeld said.
Among couples who met online, 61 per cent were same-sex couples, the study said. “Couples who meet online are much more likely to be same-sex couples, and somewhat more likely to be from different religious backgrounds,” Rosenfeld said. “The internet is not simply a new and more efficient way to keep in touch with our existing networks; rather the internet is a new kind of social intermediary that may reshape the kinds of partners and relationships we have,” he said.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM AFP
Published in The Express Tribune August 17th, 2010.