After this semester, I feel like I have learned a lot about online dating.
I’ve learned that there are a lot of people will special interests out there looking for love. I’ve learned that online dating is actually super awesome for these people because its allowed them to connect in a way they couldn't before. Online dating can help spread ideas, interests and stories every day that help people feel like their not alone.
I’ve also continued to learn meeting people online always has an element of risk to it. People need to watch out for the ones they love and keep track of each other.
I’ve also finally learned that there is still SO much to look into! This online dating world is still full of so much more for people like me to explore. There are so many more stories to hear and people to meet.
I will post my bibliography onto this post as a file so you can continue to read and research.
Thanks for following along this semester!
After my semester of research on this topic of online dating and apps, I feel like it is important that I leave you in one of my final posts with some context about the dangers of online dating. As for dating in general, the safety of all persons- any gender, age or identity- is crucial and needs to be acknowledged.
With the accessibility of online dating also brings about new dangers and risks. Before you begin dating online, it is important to remember these things as they apply to all subcultures and identities.
Catfishing is a term used to describe when someone creates a fake identity online to deceive people. Catfishing is usually used to describe some sort of deception in a romantic relationship. These people can change their name, age, gender, looks and photos with just the click of a button.
Catfishers can prey on users who become too trusting. There are many ways to spot a catfish before they trick you.
Predators use websites and apps to find their victims. LGBTQ+ users tend to make their profiles more anonymous, which can leave them more of a target to predators.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune “Students make online connections with a higher degree of anonymity so the people behind the profiles don't risk exposure, he said. Longing for connection but facing the risk of expulsion, they meet dates in person, possibly without exchanging even basic personal details, such as ages and last names.” Predators know this.
Scammers can try to manipulate you into giving them money and personal information. They can build trust over time, and then ask you for money, often for emergency situations. Consumer Reports said “According to the FBI, romance scams and similar confidence scams cost consumers more money than any other kind of Internet fraud.”
Rule of thumb- don’t fully trust anyone you meet online.
Mental health is a very important topic to young people today. Progress has been made towards promoting mental health awareness, but there are still some aspects of our lives that affect our mental health without realizing it. Dating apps have been shown to affect users mental health.
One group I’d like to focus on in Grindr. Grindr is probably the most well known LGBTQ+ dating app. The app was kick-started in 2009, and has faced a lot of scrutiny over the years. In 2018, Buzzfeed News discovered that Grindr was sharing the private information of its users (their HIV status) to other companies. The app has also faced controversy over the location features.
Beyond the technical problems with the app itself, studies show that Grindr users are unhappy. A Vox article surveyed 50 men about the app and their happiness. The author, Jack Turban, found that the men felt more anxious, isolated and depressed. He also explained that the ability to find immediate sex through the app for some users could be leaving them feeling depressed (but this is not to say that all Grindr users are looking for sex on the app).
But how is this different than other dating apps and subcultures? To look at the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, mental health conditions are three times as high for people who identify as LGBTQ+.
Overall, users of dating apps, Grindr and others, can measure their self worth off of the responses and experiences from dating apps. How can someone base their worth off of the reaction they get from someone’s first impression of them? But it’s easy to do when users get their validation from sex and relationships.
Our generation is thought to be the most lonely generation because with social media, our generation can compare themselves to the people they follow every day. They look at other people’s feeds and lives and compare other’s highlights to their lowlights.
It is important to remember that your mental health is more important than an app. Whether it’s Grindr, Tinder or Instagram, if it harms your mental state, make a change or give it up.
You can also seek help for your mental health at the resources below:
The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ+ focused organization and hotline for LGBTQ+ experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a hotline where you can talk to a real person if you are experiencing suicidal or depressed thoughts.