Most people have, at one point or another, used a dating app, or at least found themselves curious as to whether they should enlist and sign up.
What could be the harm in scanning through endless profiles of prospects?
You can pick and choose from the comfort of your phone ... and numerous options are available until you find someone who catches your eye...
Although a seemingly innocent idea, the effects of these apps may actually be much more detrimental than we think and those effects can be long-term.
Below are 5 surprising ways dating apps are actually doing more harm than good:
1. It makes people disposable, making it harder to settle
Because dating apps allow users to scan through infinite profiles, social interactions become "depersonalized", creating a perception that people are disposable.
There is a general understanding that with the click of a button - or swipe of a screen - there could be something better or more attractive just waiting to be discovered...
2. It takes the work out of building meaningful long-term relationships
The value of meaningful relationships with others isn't something that can be built over a few messages, sharing of photos or a date.
Building a meaningful relationship with someone takes time and effort. It takes dedication. Human beings are not objects, they are complex individuals with many layers, experiences, and emotions.
Because dating apps have made it so easy to find "the next thing", people are less likely to take the time it requires to give someone a chance to open up to them.
"Having constant access to a pool of potential matches at their fingertips is making people more impatient, causing unrealistic expectations for first dates and a general decline in effort. Daters are “more quick to judge because they know that if you’re not spectacular, they can go back to their inbox, and just swipe right again tomorrow,” Jacoby says.
3. Cheating becomes easier
What's to say that the person you are talking to isn't talking to many others simultaneously? It's just too easy...
4. People can easily lie about themselves
The profile of a user is an open game; one can write whatever they want about themselves and you would have very little ways of knowing the truth.
Also, people often upload photos of their younger days - or a selfie from the perfect angle... Ever looked over at someone walking towards you and hoped it wasn't your date?
You are probably nodding your head right now at the above statement because chances are, you have wasted your time going on a date with someone who was not exactly what you had anticipated.
Yet, if you chose someone based on a one-dimensional selfie that popped up on your screen, what did you really expect...
5. It can backfire on its users on a psychological level
A study carried out by the American Psychological Association reveals that those who use dating apps have overall lower self-esteem than those who do not engage in its use.
The effect was reported on both men and women.
“We found that being actively involved with Tinder, regardless of the user’s gender, was associated with body dissatisfaction, body shame, body monitoring, internalization of societal expectations of beauty, comparing oneself physically to others, and reliance on media for information on appearance and attractiveness,” said PhD Jessica Strübel, researcher at the University of North Texas.
Trent Petrie, the co-author of the paper and professor in the psychology department of the University of North Texas, reiterates the impact it has had on men:
“The men, in essence, are put in a position that women often find themselves in, certainly in the dating scene: They’re now being evaluated and are being determined whether or not somebody is interested in them [based on their looks]. Men may be more likely to get more swipe-lefts. And that can take a toll, perhaps, on those young men.”
Dating apps give the initial impression that there are plenty of fish in the sea and a lot of options to choose from.
Chasing this illusion may keep you single for a long time.
In a world where technology has made everything move so rapidly, let's keep the real things real and put meaning back into meaningful things.
The next time you meet someone, give them a chance and don't let the first impression be the only impression, you might be pleasantly surprised to discover there is a beautiful soul beneath the facade.