Walk around the University of Georgia campus, you’ll likely hear stories about dating or hooking up. It’s college, after all, and getting higher education during the day leads to the pursuit of romance at night.
With the prevalence of smartphones, many students use apps like Tinder or Bumble to find potential dates. But dating apps, or internet dating, removes the human mechanisms of finding love by using technology, dating apps and phone screens.
Tinder, one of the most popular dating apps out today, is one such alienating platform. People create their profiles and match with people they find interesting. They can then message each other to their heart’s content, either going on dates or setting up appointments for casual sex.
While dating apps have made it easier to set up people who find each other mutually attractive, it removes the humanization behind finding love. Profiles literally box people behind two dimensional screens, turning the human to pixels, defining person as objects.
It’s no wonder that the more someone uses apps like Tinder, the lower their self-esteem drops. Researchers from the University of North Texas found that people who use Tinder tend to have lower satisfactions with their bodies and self-esteem because of their activity on the app.
According to Jessica Strubel, one of the lead researchers of the projects, Tinder users “develop heightened awareness (and criticism) of their looks and bodies and believe that there is always something better around the corner, or rather with the next swipe of their screen, even while questioning their own worth.”
And if you do happen to find a compatible mate, some students think that relationships found on dating apps are of a poorer quality.
“When you approach someone solely with the purpose of dating, it gets harder to get to know them as a person,” said Ashley Tan, a first year computer science major from Johns Creek. “This leads to relationships that are more often less intimate because you didn’t know them as a person, so you didn’t know them as a friend and you couldn’t love them as a friend before you could date them. So I think that when you have dating apps, you approach people solely for dating or hooking up and that makes it harder for long-term relationships.”
This isn’t to say that there aren’t some benefits to dating apps. It’s immensely helpful for LGBT students to find dates since finding a compatible person with the same sexual orientation as you is difficult in daily life. But in the throes of app-assisted hookup culture, finding genuine romance becomes exceedingly challenging.
So don’t rely on these apps to find love. Attend clubs or organizations and meet the people with similar interests as you. While it may be easier to look at the phone screen for human connection, face-to-face interaction will always surpass cellular titillation.