Not Playing the Game: Negative Opinions about Online Dating and Video Gaming among Non-Participants

Max Marc

Abstract


Per prior research, both online dating and video gaming are strongly associated with real and virtual relationship formation among participants. Yet this exploratory research study finds that eighty five percent of internet users have never participated in online dating and fifty percent of survey respondents have never participated in video gaming. This study uses data from a large nationally representative survey on online dating and video gaming in the U.S.

The study employs the sociotechnical and the uses-and-gratifications theoretical perspectives to emphasize the role of information technology in shaping and framing relationships, and the importance of understanding individual context in the use of such technologies. The study investigates the characteristics of individuals who harbor negative opinions about online dating and video gaming despite having never participated in these activities. Opinions include: “Online dating is more dangerous than other ways of meeting people”, “People who use online dating sites are desperate”, “Video games are a waste of time,” and “Video games portray women poorly.”

This research finds that among those who have never participated in online dating, more negative opinions about online dating are associated with a higher frequency of internet usage, a more conservative political orientation and lower educational and income levels. Here, current relationship status did not have a significant association with negative opinions among non-participants. With respect to video gaming, among those who have never participated in video gaming, more negative opinions about video gaming are associated with higher age and a more conservative political orientation. Additionally, among non-participants, the opinion that people who play violent video games are more likely to be violent themselves is associated with higher age, lower income level, and being female.

The large body of work that has focused on online dating and video games as drivers of relationships has focused on participants in these activities. There is scarce research on non-participants even though non-participants comprise at least half the population. By focusing on these ignored groups, this study advances broader understanding of the individual and societal contexts under which individuals choose to not participate in these activities that are known to be associated with relationship outcomes. Non-participation is related to technophobia and the findings from this study will help broaden understanding of that phenomenon.


Keywords


Online dating; video games; relationships; non-participation; technophobia; demographics; political ideology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4101/jvwr.v10i2.7273

The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org