Online Dating Stats

Study

Dating in 2024: Social Media Stalking & Background Checks

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major in college, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Jon McCallister

Jon McCallister

Jon came to DatingAdvice in 2016 with more than 15 years of editorial experience behind him. He has experience editing, writing, and designing at numerous publications, including the Gainesville Sun. Jon enjoys researching emerging trends and seeking out the companies, organizations, and individuals making an impact in the modern world of dating. He excels at working closely with writers and editors to improve the quality of online content.

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The simplicity of dating has all but disappeared in 2024. People rarely walk up to someone and ask them out on a date. Instead, many look for love online, hoping to connect with someone via dating apps before meeting in person. 

In a survey of over 1,000 American singles, we’re discovering more about this digital dating process, including how far some will go to learn more about a date before physically meeting. Here’s a hint: Social media stalking and even background checks are all in the realm of possibility. 

Trends | Digital Sleuthing | Desires & Expectations | Methodology

Dating apps are a major hotspot for singles in America, and 2 in 3 survey respondents say they use dating apps or websites for nearly a half-hour every day. That adds up to over three hours of swiping per week in hopes of finding the one. Over half (54%) of survey respondents aren’t putting their love life in the hands of a sole dating app but instead are using two or more dating apps.

Online dating trends report by DatingAdvice.com

After matching on a dating app, singles turn to social media to learn more about their potential dates. More than 2 in 3 (68%) of those surveyed admit to looking up social media accounts of their matches. While most just want to find additional pictures, others are looking for red flags. 

The top three social media accounts that singles surveyed look for are:

  1. Instagram
  2. Facebook
  3. LinkedIn  

Social media can ruin a chance at a date: 40% of survey respondents say they have gone so far as to unmatch a person after seeing their social media accounts, and 37% have resorted to ghosting. 

Nearly half (46%) of singles search for their matches on Google. The majority confess they’re trying to see whether the person has a criminal background. Others are looking for news articles or the work history of their match. 

Digital Sleuthing Before Dating

Dating online means people are putting themselves out there in a pool of strangers. Some singles turn to digital sleuthing before meeting anyone in person. This may be because of past experiences: 52% of survey respondents say they met a match who did not look like their profile picture. 

Pre-date investigation habits report by DatingAdvice.com

Nearly 2 in 3 (64%) of those surveyed say they look up their date online before meeting in person. This is more common among women (80%) than men (49%). Most said they spend about 20 minutes Googling a date. Others (15%) report they take protecting their safety one step further and run a background check. While that may seem excessive to some, it paid off for those who did it: 39% found something negative! 

Some American singles aren’t afraid or embarrassed to tell their dates what they did ahead of meeting them, with 24% admitting to their date that they stalked them beforehand. Only 16% of singles say dates have admitted to stalking them before meeting. 

Dating Desires and Expectations

Dating apps draw out people looking for all sorts of things: marriage, a date, and maybe more of a physical connection. Nearly 1 in 3 singles admit to sexting with a match who they’ve never met in person, and 16% said they have sent naked pictures. 

Digital dating intentions report by DatingAdvice.com

Some singles online have gotten unsolicited naked photos. In fact, 2 in 5 survey participants report receiving an explicit picture from a dating app match. Survey results show this happens more to women (47%) than men (33%). 

Half of survey respondents say they chat with matches with no intention of ever meeting them in person. These people are often referred to as “pen pals.” The top three reasons singles don’t want to meet in person are: 

  1. Anxiety
  2. Don’t want anything serious
  3. Just want to chat online 

Online dating can take a lot out of people. Over 2 in 5 (43%) survey participants say it negatively impacts their mental health. While online dating takes a lot of work, success stories abound. So, if you’re single and dating, don’t give up hope. The right connection may be one swipe away. 

Methodology 

In April 2024, we surveyed 1,011 single Americans about their online dating habits. Participant ages ranged from 18 to 70 with an average age of 34. Respondents were 49% men, 48% women, and 3% nonbinary and/or chose not to disclose. 

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