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Over 2,000 people responded to a Radio 1 Newsbeat survey in the UK about dating apps, and over one-third of them said that mobile apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Chappy are their least preferred way to meet people. Nearly half of the group had used a dating app before.

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However, more than 25 percent of them said that they'd gotten married or into a long-term relationship as a result of meeting someone in apps like these. Sam Dumas of Chappy told the BBC that these apps can be "a way to connect with people you may not be able to meet otherwise. We've seen a trend of physical spaces of bars and clubs closing - they've become fewer and fewer over the years."

Newsbeat itself reported in 2015 that half of all nightclubs in the United Kingdom had shut their doors within the last decade -- although it's difficult to say how many of these closures were directly the result of trends in dating apps, rather than the natural fluctuations caused by businesses being run at different levels of competence.

In the United States, conventional wisdom says that most restaurants fail within the first year, but research from Cornell University in 2014 indicated that the number was less than 20 percent. For nightclubs in the US, however, shadows have been looming for some time.

According to the American Nightlife Association (yes, that's a thing), about 6,500 clubs either close or cut back hours within the first year. Research indicates there's a broad generational shift that may turn these venues into historical footnotes like speakeasies and vaudeville.

Among the reasons cited: Having to pay to get in, overpriced drinks, rude staff, long lines at the bar and the restroom, and loud music that prevents conversation. Instead, millennials (identified as those born between 1977 and 1994) are flocking to house parties coordinated on social media, where they have full control over drink options and noise levels.

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In the survey, nearly 20 percent of the respondents said that they met their current partner outside of an app, by an old-fashioned way: via friends and family, or on a blind date.

A respondent named Jordan also cited a mental health angle: "I've been on nights out where I've found it hard to meet people, so I've gone on an app while I've been standing on a dance floor. It seems to be that they're platforms where people think they can get away with saying things they wouldn't say to your face. You're judged for the person you are on screen, not for the person you are, and for me that's very hard to deal with."

Cyberbullying can be especially nasty for women wherever they go online, but particularly in dating apps, despite these apps' policies against abusive behavior. So with dating apps hurting clubs, and creepoids hurting dating apps, we may be coming full-circle back to private parties with a carefully chosen selection of friends and family.

The takeaways

  1. In a UK survey of over 2,000 people, more than a third of the respondents said that dating apps were their least-preferred method to meet that special someone. However, over one-quarter of them said they'd also found a long-term relationship or spouse as a result of a dating app.
  2. Dating apps may be contributing to a decline in the nightclub scene, but the apps themselves can frequently be a platform for abusive behavior.

Also see

Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.