It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of hookup apps.
They can make a world of difference to how people connect with one another and how people share information, and while the vast majority of these apps offer a free trial period, a lot of people have the option to sign up for a monthly subscription that includes access to additional features, such as email, social networking, video chatting, and more.
But what about hookups that aren’t necessarily free, like the ones that are paid for with your money?
According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, some people may not be aware that they can be losing out on potentially lucrative free social networking experiences if they sign up to hookup services with their money.
For instance, a study conducted by the University of California, Irvine, found that over 80 percent of men and women who use social networking apps are not aware that their profiles contain information about their sexual activity.
Researchers used data from the US Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey to find out how many men and woman, ages 18-34, had engaged in sexual activity using social networking sites.
While the researchers found that nearly half of all the participants who had engaged, were currently or previously sexually active, only 18.9 percent of women and 20.7 percent of male participants were aware that there was a potential for a sexually transmitted disease associated with their profiles.
“While a high proportion of the population is aware that a high percentage of their partners have been sexually active using social networks, most of these individuals are unaware of this potential exposure,” the researchers wrote in their study.
“In contrast, when considering how these data are presented, it is clear that individuals are often unaware of potential risks that could be posed by sharing their information online.”
Social networks aren’t just for hookups.
In the study, researchers also asked participants about how much they were willing to pay for the privilege of sharing their personal information online.
Participants who were unaware of the potential for exposure and potential health risks were less likely to pay.
However, those who were aware of potential risk were also less likely pay to share their information.
“We hypothesized that individuals who have a low awareness of these risks and a high desire to be comfortable sharing their intimate information online would be more willing to incur a premium price for the information that they would not otherwise be willing to provide,” the study authors wrote.
While the study was designed to study the effects of a potential exposure, it’s possible that other risks and costs that people may be overlooking, such like the potential financial harm that can occur when a partner is using a social networking service to avoid reporting an STD, are also potentially at play.