Identity-checking experts 192.com have measured the anxieties of online dating, the lies being spun in cyberspace and how spelling mistakes and emoticons can make you look shifty.
A nationally representative poll of 1,500 found people lying about their age, address, job and marital status when online. The survey also uncovered a widespread back-ground checking culture, and fear of meeting people on Facebook.
– 57% rarely or never feel safe dating online
– 13% never feel safe meeting people on Facebook
– 1 in 5 lie about their marital status when online
– 17% change their age when dating online, 22% will lie about their job
Robin Kramer, Evolutionary Psychologist at Bangor University says: “With many of us living in relative anonymity, reliable first-hand reputations are scarce. The temptation to be less than truthful to gain a dating advantage becomes greater, particularly in cyberspace.”
The largest proportion who rarely felt safe dating online were aged 35-44, (44% of the affirmative answers) and the highest proportion of those who said they rarely or never felt safe on Facebook were aged over 65.
Asked what would make someone mistrust a date online, over half of the survey said if the prospective partner didn’t have any online images of themselves, and 20% if there wasn’t a reference to them anywhere on the internet.
“We’ve evolved to carry out face to face interactions and put value in viewing and responding,” explains Kramer. “With an image, the more that is displayed the more information is signalled, so a full-body colour image is preferable.”
Emoticons make you look untrustworthy 😉
– 27% percent said they are less likely to trust an online date if their emails or IM messages are mostly emoticons
– Over half were suspicious of poor spelling and grammar
– One in five said they wouldn’t trust someone if they were slow to respond to emails or IM messages
Kramer says: “Poor spelling and grammar may be misconstrued as lower intelligence or laziness. Due to the ‘halo effect’ people tend to group positive or negative perceptions together. If you judge someone to be attractive you might also assume they are friendly. Conversely if we assume someone is stupid or lazy we might also assume they’re untrustworthy.”
Who will people background check?
Asked who they might carry out back ground checks on, 47% of the survey said someone they’ve met online or 37% said a new date and 12% said a new in-law.
Robin Kramer says: “Our default position is to trust people as it leads to better co-operation, however we have also evolved to attempt to spot people who shouldn’t be trusted and to remember prior interactions. Therefore if we initially trust someone and it backfires, we’re unlikely to make the same mistake twice.”
Where people background check
– 40% check people out on Google, as did 66% of the 25-34 year-olds in the poll
– 34% of the survey use Facebook
– Background checking on Facebook was mostly preferred by the 18-24 year olds, with over 80% percent opting for it
– 11% use Linked In and 13% use 192.com. Linked In was more popular choice for 25-34 year olds, with older age groups opting for 192.com
– Five percent of the survey used Twitter for checking someone’s ID
– Thirty-four percent said they didn’t know how to check out someone’s ID online, with over half of the 55-65 year-olds not knowing how.
What your date wants to know about you
– Asked what people want to know when carrying out a background check on a new partner:
– 67% wanted to know their marital status
– 52% their occupation
– 66% their age
– 47% where they live
Dominic Blackburn, Product Director of 192.com said: “Online dating is a lottery and you never know who you’re talking too. 192.com’s access to the edited electoral roll, births deaths and marriage data, director records and the land registry will give you a clearer picture of your love interest. Our guide to background checking your online date should help.”
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