Dating apps can affect mental health, social life

Recent studies link excessive dating app usage with mental health issues, including social anxiety.


Before I transferred to Temple University, I joined a dating app, hoping to explore new things and meet new people. I was living at home while attending a community college, so finding relationships felt unattainable at the time with such a small social bubble.

One guy I talked to for a couple of weeks decided to stop responding altogether. I was left questioning a lot about why it happened and the thoughts consumed me. All I wanted was to have fun and get to know someone.

When I was led to believe he had feelings for me, it hurt that much more to be left on read through texting.

Dating apps allow people this ability to stop talking without any reason because no real-life emotions have to be confronted.

The excessive use of dating apps has negative effects on our social life and mental health, and it’s an indication that we should consider a dating life free of Tinder, Hinge and other apps.

Dating apps arose in the LGBTQ community with the founding of Grindr in 2009, but have since grown into a variety of platforms, including Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, the Atlantic reported.

In 2018, around 23.8 million American adults used dating apps.

In a 2019 study at Ohio State University, researchers surveyed 269 students who used dating apps and described themselves as socially anxious and lonely. They reported using dating apps to the point that it interfered with their schooling or work.

Cat DeNunzio, a junior psychology major, said while dating apps did not negatively impact her education, she did see a shift in her social life. 

“In high school, I became wrapped up in a dating app,” DeNunzio said. “Attention from new people was amazing, but I became more stressed wondering how many matches I got than what was going on with my real friends.”

DeNunzio realized the apps were a waste of her time, but notices younger generations are accustomed to meeting over an app.

“I feel like dating apps have become so normal in Western culture, and they’re just easier than having to meet strangers at a bar,” DeNunzio said. “I feel like a lot of people I know don’t really talk to random people in social settings but instead meet over apps.”

For me, the world of dating apps did not fit my needs. Online dating does not fit my mental well being, but it can work for others. 

“If people can multitask and know what they want on dating apps, I say that is a valuable skill,” said Liz Zadnik, assistant director of Temple University’s Wellness Resource Center. “If it is interfering with someone’s goals, I would recommend prioritizing or setting boundaries.”

Grace Milone, a senior speech, language and hearing science major, was searching for more attention on dating apps, before meeting her boyfriend on Tinder. She then realized how much they were taking up her time.

“There wasn’t enough on just one app, so I would hop onto a different one as soon as the other was not working for me,” Milone said. “They became like a social media site, where I would scroll for hours, and I felt it would boost my mental health.”

When I entered the dating app world, I wasn’t equipped with the right mindset. If given the chance, I might join the dating app world again.

“Remember we are human and our brains want connection,” Zadnik said. “Dating apps feed a part of us that is very human, to where our brain, heart and body want to connect with others.”

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