According to a May 2018 article from CNN, the popularity of online dating may also affect how we perceive ourselves, according to a 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal “Body Image.” About 1,300 mostly college-age students were asked about their Tinder use, body image and self-esteem. The study found that men and women who use the app appear to have lower self-esteem than those who don't.
Online dating has been popular since the middle 2000s, but technology has expanded and become more user-friendly — so has finding love. There are many types of dating apps: some allow women to take the lead, let individuals play matchmaker for their single friends or even provide dating services specifically for Ivy League students. Newer apps often utilize a swiping mechanism — left swipe if there is no interest in a person, right swipe if there is. That is different than traditional online dating websites, such as eHarmony or Match, that are still in use by older adults.
Tinder, released in 2012, is one of the most popular dating sites for younger generations, even though “Humane Tech,”in early 2018, reported that Tinder is the ninth out of 15 applications that make people the most unhappy.
“Expanded Ramblings”reported, as of August 2018, Tinder has an estimated 50 million users. Of those 50 million, around 10 million are daily users. The last time a record was taken in 2016, it was concluded that the average person spent around 35 minutes a day swiping on Tinder or 12,775 minutes a year.
Yulya Besplemennova of Medium, using the First Look at User Activity on Tinder paper by Gareth Tyson, Vasile Perta, Hamed Haddadi and Michael Seto, provided information on dating strategies of Tinder from 230,000 male and 250,000 female profiles used in the study.
These intentions and strategies have caused many studies to be done surrounding the mental health of individuals who date online, specifically younger people using apps, that have similar results; it is not good for mental health and stability.
A 2016 Time article by Mandy Oaklander stated, "compared to people who weren’t on the dating app, Tinder users had lower levels of self-worth, reported being less satisfied with their faces and looks and were more ashamed of their bodies. They were also more likely to think of themselves as sexual objects, to internalize societal ideals about beauty, to compare their appearances to others and to constantly monitor how they looked, the researchers found (of a 1,300 college student study)."
College students responded to this data.
"When I got a match, I would feel excited, but there are some not so great people on [Tinder] too, people that I've actually matched with. When I would [match with them], I'd always think: well if they're not so great, maybe I'm not so great either. Using Tinder made me look down on myself and I realized that, so I deleted it. Life is much better without it," nursing sophomore and former user of Tinder Kara Anderson said.
While Anderson said her experience had been less than expected, others have found moderate success.
“When you actually match with someone, it's like receiving a compliment, but when they end up being disappointing or rude, it can be frustrating. I have to remind myself that these are people I don't have to deal with in person if I don't want to. Sometimes, I think I get into my head about Tinder and other dating apps, which impact me negatively, but nothing life-changing comes out if it," former Tinder user and undecided freshman Victoria Thompson, said
A current Tinder user commented on the confidence boost the app brings him.
"When I get a match, I’m ecstatic. My ego and self-confidence hit the max. It’s a feeling that is almost euphoric, but not quite. Tinder definitely influences my mental health; it can take my already high points even higher and my already low points even lower. I like to believe that I don’t let Tinder take me out of happiness, but when a person that you felt a connection with drops you, it definitely hurts," Xavier Smith II, University of Toledo freshman studying computer science, said.
If the information is out there and people actively feel saddened while using Tinder, why do they continue? University Associate Professor of Psychology, Howard Casey Cromwell, said, to some people, there must be a reward to obtain out of the swiping — whether it be a long term or a short term partner. He stressed that there is a huge difference of like and want to the brain, which is often confusing.
“The Art of Manliness” described the difference as "wanting is simply the prediction that we'll (people) like something when we get it or experience it. Liking is the good feeling — the joy and fulfillment — we get from doing or having something."
Tinder often falls in between these two areas.
Online dating, scientifically, is bad for mental health; however, there is currently no data that shows the number of users dropping any time soon. Whether it be the power people feel when swiping or the idea of a reward at the end of it all, it appears as though there is not enough data to derail current online dating users.