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But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts."There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?

The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet at work or in the neighborhood.People used to marry in their early 20s, which meant that most dating that was done, or most courting that was done, was done with the intention of settling down right away.And that’s not the life that young people lead anymore."And mostly they're pretty unfounded." Rosenfeld, who has been keeping tabs on the dating lives of more than 3,000 people, has gleaned many insights about the growing role of apps like Tinder.They are important today — roughly one of every four straight couples now meet on the Internet.

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