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How social media has transformed dating

Thursday January 19th, 2012

Experts have expressed alarm at the number of young adults who have based their love lives around social media.

Young adults say technology has had a "positive impact" on relationships.

But experts expressed alarm that 80 per cent say they have used a smart phone or the web for sexual purposes.

The survey of some 850 16-24-year-olds conducted by Plymouth University, Devon, UK, found that ten per cent reported having dated someone they had met first on-line.

Researcher Professor Andy Phippen of Plymouth University, who conducted the study, said: “This survey is the first of its kind and provides us with brand new data on how young adults use technology in their intimate lives.

"This is just the beginning and there is still lots of research to be done in this area."

But a West Country sexual health adviser, Andrew Wilson of NHS Somerset, said: “Serious concerns are raised by these findings.  Smart phones and social media are great for socialising but they also have a darker side allowing hurtful and unwanted contact. 

"They can be used by bullies and sexual predators preying on people for sex through the online world.”

He added: "We find that young men and women whose self worth is low can sometimes find a false sense of belonging and are made to feel attractive and desirable by the attention they receive online. 

"This can result in them becoming involved with someone, or several partners, but often the sense of fulfilment they desired is not met and they end up feeling worse about themselves than before.”  

Tags: General Health | Infancy to Adolescence | UK News

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