Dating apps like Bumble, Tinder and Hinge are popular in the modern-day quest for love. The premise is simple: You download the app, set up a profile, and swipe on eligible singles. If you’re interested, you swipe right. If not, you swipe left. If you both swipe right, you’re matched and can begin a conversation that may lead to a date.
Research, however, is raising a caution flag. A study suggests these apps may lead to feelings of unhappiness, anxiety, low self-esteem and burnout in part because more than 50 percent of the matches made on dating apps do not lead to a conversation. This heavy dose of rejection can negatively impact how users view themselves.
A 2017 study found users of the app Tinder had less self-esteem than their peers who did not use the app because they were constantly critiquing their own physical appearance and how it was perceived by others.
Dating apps also can contribute to smartphone addiction, which can lead to depression and anxiety. The founder of the app Bumble recently admitted the app negatively affected users’ mental health and incorporated a “snooze” feature that allows users to take a break from the app.
How can people use dating apps without sacrificing their mental health? Moderation is key. Experts suggest limiting use of the apps to 10 minutes per day, or 30 minutes every few days, and to be honest with matches that you’d like to move the conversation off the app and in person quickly.
Apps may make it easier to sift through potential dates, but it’s not the only option if you’re looking for romance. Participating in social activities that you enjoy can lead to romance, too. After all, people did date before the Internet.