I, like 50 million other people, use Tinder.
If you’re unfamiliar with what Tinder is, it’s essentially a dating app where your profile includes photos, age, gender, distance, and a biography. You then can search for partners who are within your age and area range. Swipe right if you find someone attractive, swipe left if you don’t. After finding a match, you’re able to chat the other person and can potentially set up a time and place to meet outside the app. Easy, right?
While swiping may seem like a casual way to meet people, researchers have found that Tinder users report negative psychosocial effects when using the app. According to a study done by the University of North Texas, Tinder, which focuses almost exclusively on physical appearance, has been found to damage self-esteem in both male and female users.
Researchers found that there was a correlation between using the app and self-worth indicators like:
body satisfaction, self-esteem, feelings of body shame, internalization of cultural beauty standards, comparisons to others and self-objectification (news.unt.edu).
The focus on physical attractiveness over character qualities, which stems from the Tinder swipe culture, is what some researchers consider reason why Tinder users experience lower psychosocial well-being and higher body dissatisfaction than non-users. Users felt more pressure to look a certain way, compared themselves to others, and, overall, had a negative mood.
Aside from Tinder creating a dating culture where appearance is everything, it also takes up valuable time, like any social media site. Using these statistics, let’s break it down.
There are 1.6 billion swipes per day on Tinder, and with 10 million daily users, that averages to 160 swipes per day. Match numbers are lower, with 26 million per day, so out of your 160 swipes per day, you get between two and three matches per day (which is a match percentage of about 1.6%). Spending too much time swiping? Dr. Jess Carbino, an in-house sociologist who used to work Tinder but now works at Bumble, another dating app, suggests meeting your dates in person, two to three times a week, to get to know them.
Dr. Jess Carbino recommends that 30 minutes a day on the app is enough time. There’s an excitement that comes with using the app for the first time, but after about a month, it wears off, and your daily use will probably wear down as well. The average time a Tinder user spends on the app per day is 35 minutes, which is only five minutes over Dr. Carbino’s recommendation. But those minutes add up over time, and could potentially take away time from other important things. Social media addiction is real, and it’s real for dating apps too.
The ways of dating have changed with the evolving technology, which means that there are new ways to meet people, like online and through dating apps. However, apps like Tinder that focus on physical appearance over personality, have repercussions. If you like Tinder, then keep using it. If you’re sick of Tinder, then find another dating outlet…there really are plenty. Whichever way you choose to find potential dates, just remember that you’re the best you out there.
Also published on Medium.