Young Malaysians ditch dating apps in favour of finding love the old-fashioned way

A Malaysian couple sit by a lake near the landmark Twin Towers on a hazy day in Kuala Lumpur.
A Malaysian couple sit by a lake near the landmark Twin Towers on a hazy day in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Finding love can be just a matter of "swipe right" these days but Malaysia's Gen Y-ers are still old-fashioned romantics.

Even as dating apps become more common, a survey showed that the technology-obsessed young people in Malaysia prefer to meet their love interests the traditional way - offline.

A mere 7 per cent of youth in Malaysia believe that Tinder is the most conducive way to meet someone new, which is below the global average of 12 per cent.

This is despite each using an average of one dating app, with Tinder being named as the top platform.

The findings emerged from the Truth About Youth survey, conducted by McCann Truth Central of McCann Worldgroup.

The poll gathered the responses of 11,000 youth aged between 16 and 30 across 18 countries. Of the total, 2,000 were from Malaysia.

Some dating app users agreed that they would rather find love through conventional means.

"But who knows? I may end up having a happy Tinderella story," said a doctor, 28, who wished to be known only as Elizabeth.

She conceded that meeting someone face-to-face was a better way to gauge a potential partner.

Looking for love, online or offline, takes a lot of courage. The stakes are higher for online dating because you really put yourself out there.

While it was fun in the beginning, a master's degree student known only as Kil said he grew tired of online dating because he felt most users judged others by their appearance.

"If you don't like their face, just swipe left and they won't appear on your screen again.

"So it is very easy to dismiss someone because of their looks," said the 24-year-old.

McCann Erickson planning director Nura Yusof said the findings indicated that Malaysian Gen Y-ers were more "conservative" than their peers abroad.

"They still believe in the romantic or traditional way of meeting new people, be it through sweet serendipity, meeting someone at a social event, or having a school crush.

"It is good that our young people place importance in face-to-face interactions," she said.

Most or 69 per cent found it unacceptable to regularly "hook up" with strangers they meet on dating apps, based on the poll findings.

Some 53 per cent also do not trust the people they find online.

And the youth are right to be cautious, as the authorities have received reports of scammers and incidents of cyber blackmail and cyber stalking on dating apps.

When contacted, CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Amirudin Abdul Wahab cautioned that there had been 25 security incidents involving dating apps in Malaysia in the past five years.

Such digital crime cases were reported to the agency's help centre, Cyber999.

"Some victims were forced to deactivate all social media accounts because of cyber stalkers. We also advised the victims to make a police report," he said.

Dr Amirudin warned that some dating apps had also leaked Facebook identities, location data and pictures.

"Users are advised to limit the information they share such as location and phone numbers.

"They should also avoid logging into dating apps by using their social media accounts. Instead, create a new account for it," he said.