Online dating gaining worldwide acceptance

LONDON Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:02pm EST

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LONDON (Reuters) - If you spent Valentine's Day looking for love online then you are among the one in three Internet users who regard the web as a good place to find a relationship, according to a new study.

The BBC World Service global poll showed that 30 percent of web users regard the Internet as a good place to find a boyfriend or girlfriend.

The poll, conducted among nearly 11,000 Internet users across 19 countries, revealed that India and Pakistan are among the countries with the greatest numbers of enthusiasts for Internet introductions.

Fifty-nine percent of Indians and 60 percent of Pakistanis who use the Internet regard it as a good place to find a partner.

"This shows what a major role the Internet now plays in the lives of millions of people around the world," GlobeScan Research Director Sam Mountford said in a statement.

"For many, and particularly in the developing world, it's not just somewhere to work, shop, or communicate with friends, but a credible way of finding a partner in life."

Other countries where high proportions of Internet users feel the same way include Ghana (47 percent) and the Philippines (42 percent). By contrast, fewer Americans (21 percent), South Koreans (16 percent), British (28 percent), and French (27 percent) think the idea of finding a partner online a good one.

However, the results also suggest that those with a higher level of education are less likely to regard the Internet as a good place for romance -- 28 percent of those with a university education felt it was, compared to 36 percent of those who had not completed high school.

The results are drawn from a larger survey of public attitudes toward the Internet, to be released on 8 March.

The survey interviewed 10,976 adults who had used the Internet in the previous six months across 19 countries, and was conducted for BBC World Service by polling firm GlobeScan.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Steve Addison)

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