Dating apps draw young people

By Megan Ingros

The days have passed since people worried about calling landlines, potentially facing rejection or hearing a parent pick up the phone.

Tinder and similar apps have provided users with an easy way to communicate with other people  without having to leave their houses.

However, these apps have raised the question of how dating through technology may affect users’ ability to form lasting relationships.

Tinder allows users to look through photos of people who live locally  and make potential matches based on the photos and information provided.

Tinder connects with a user’s Facebook profile to find other users nearby. Users can like or dismiss potential matches based on their photos and are notified if someone they approve on the app likes them back. Users who are mutually matched can message each other.

“I dated a guy I met on Tinder for an entire summer,” said Kelly Marie Golda, a pre-med sophomore. “Tinder is an easy way to break down barriers that not knowing people creates.”

As of July 2013, Tinder had matched 75 million people since its launch in 2012, according to the Business Insider. Grindr, an all-male dating app, has reached more than 4 million users since its launch in 2009, according to the app’s website.

Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen, co-founders of Tinder, said in an interview with Return on X that  18 to 24 year olds made up 90 percent of users when the app was created. They now occupy closer to 50 percent of the user stats.

“The idea of Tinder could work for an older age group looking for serious relationships,” said Sean Domal, a biology sophomore. “College kids aren’t using it for that, though, which is why I also think that stuff isn’t safe because people (go) to extremes.”

Psychology professor Hui Chu said dating apps could prove dangerous for users.

“It sets us up to be more fake (than other forms of dating),” Chu said. “Communication online is easier to be deceptive, but at the same time it’s easier to communicate.”

Chu believes online dating apps may allow for risky sexual behavior.

“The app is not private at all and is a question of who is willing to engage it,” Chu said. “(It’s) based on local areas, (so) especially at UK it could be inappropriate if a faculty member were to use it.”

Although she deleted her own account, dating online is becoming more socially acceptable and there are ways to ensure personal safety, said Chelsea Weldon, an business and organizational communications junior.

“I think they’re safe if you make sure your privacy settings are where you want them to be,” Weldon said. “Also, you can block people if you want.”