Survey: Online dating dangerous

August 8, 2004 

MONTREAL (CP) - Eighty per cent of Canadians believe chat rooms and online dating are dangerous because they don't know who they are dealing with, a poll suggests.

As well, 69 per cent of respondents indicated they reject using the Internet as a way to meet people and 47 per cent would completely rule out using the Internet to meet new friends.

Women (56 per cent) are the least likely to use the Internet to meet new people, compared with men (38 per cent).

The Leger Marketing survey, which was provided to The Canadian Press, indicated 83 per cent of women respondents did not trust chat rooms compared with 77 per cent of men.

Canadians between 55 and 64 years old (90 per cent), employees in sales, services or office workers (86 per cent) and homemakers (90 per cent) are among the most likely to distrust these websites.

Regional breakdowns for those who distrust chat rooms and online dating was Atlantic provinces 86 per cent; Quebec 83; Ontario, the Prairies and Alberta, all with 80 per cent; and British Columbia, 74.

Respondents were replying to the question: "Chat rooms and online dating are dangerous, you don't know with whom you are dealing?"

Close to two out of three - 65 per cent - of Canadians said they think the Internet makes it easier to meet people, although 26 per cent disagreed and nine per cent did not express an opinion.

Seventy-five per cent of respondents between 25 and 34 years old and manual workers (73 per cent) said they believe the Internet makes it easier to meet people.

Regionally, the Atlantic provinces had the highest percentage of people who said the Internet helps people to meet (70 per cent); followed by the Prairies, 68; Alberta, 67; Quebec, 66; Ontario, 64; and British Columbia 63.

The survey indicated that almost three-quarters of respondents (71 per cent) used the Internet for personal or professional reasons in June, with Ontarians logging on the most (75 per cent).

They were followed by British Columbians at 73 per cent; Albertans (72 per cent); the Atlantic provinces (70 per cent) and the Prairies (66). Quebec had the lowest number of surfers at 63 per cent.

The telephone survey of 1,500 Canadians, conducted between July 6 and July 11, is considered accurate within 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.