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Since coming to Syracuse University, I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t had experience with dating apps. Some may be looking for casual dating, some may just use it for fun, while others may use these apps to find a relationship. In the past two years since the pandemic, the use of dating apps has exploded, with Tinder recording 300 billion one-day swipes and other dating apps registering an increase in activity. Hookup culture may be great for people looking for the “no strings attached” feeling, but users typically don’t realize the negative consequences of dating apps until they get too into the game.
The average Tinder user spends 90 minutes per day on the app, rating people on their appearance and a small biography with a maximum capacity of 500 characters. Constantly swiping on other people’s profiles or swiping people on yours can cause stress, anxiety or depression. Dating app users live more mental health problems than non-users. Many users may not share the same intentions and Shares such as “ghosting” – or when a user stops talking to a person without any warning – or deception can be common. The effects can be dehumanizing, lead to low mood, confidence issues and self-doubt.
Another negative aspect associated with dating apps is poor body image and body dysmorphia. Users may start comparing themselves to people in the app and start believing that they don’t have a body worthy enough to be with the person they see in the app. This, in turn, can lead to lower self-esteem.
Dr. Jessica Struebela researcher from the University of North Texas, conducted a study of more than 1,300 people and “found that being actively involved in Tinder, regardless of the gender of the user, was associated with body dissatisfaction , body shaming, body surveillance, internalizing societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and relying on the media for information about appearance and attractiveness.
Dating apps also contribute to a sense of disposableness. People tend to forget that these dating apps are technological innovations that use algorithms meant to keep you engaged. Algorithms are meant to trick you back into the app and eventually trick the user addicted.
In addition, the use of applications can sometimes pose a security problem. A investigation conducted by Columbia Journalism Investigations found that more than a third of women surveyed who use these dating apps said they had been sexually assaulted or raped by someone they met on an online site.
At Syracuse University, 92.4% of the student body is in this age bracket. The dating and dating culture is an integral part of the college experience, but SU students need to see the reality of these dating apps. Navigating through classes and a student’s myriad responsibilities can be overwhelming, and dating apps shouldn’t help that. If students find that using these apps is having a negative impact on their mental health, they should consider taking a break.
This column is not intended to prevent anyone from using dating apps, but rather to inform students that there are negative consequences that can be avoided. Before using apps, people should be aware of the negative effects and use these apps with caution.
Daniela Dorado is a junior creative writing major. Her column appears every two weeks and can be reached at [email protected].
Posted on October 18, 2022 at 11:30 p.m.