Gwyneth Katker

Anonymous 18-year-old student using Tinder, a modern dating app.

Suhaib Hasan and Jessica Ty

In a world where technology is growing more prevalent in our everyday lives, a simple “right swipe” may bring someone closer to love, but it may also lead to danger. With hundreds of dating apps and websites to browse other “fish in the sea,” it is no surprise that online dating has become a normalized part of modern society. Each of the websites, with the most popular being Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and, are different in their respective means, but each follows a general pattern of use. Usually, a love-seeker is asked to provide information about themselves along with pictures. This is then presented to like-minded singles who may have similar characteristics. People who are interested in each other may match and then begin talking. Though these sites are a quick and easy approach to dating, there is still a large amount of controversy as to the reasoning behind their use.

Attitudes regarding dating apps vary. Some recognize the dangers these apps uphold, others make accounts to actually find a partner, and some only join these services to hop on the bandwagon. As online dating has become trendy among the millennial generation and college students, they use these apps as a means for possibly “finding love” or meeting new people through casual dates. 

There are many adverse effects on the normalization of online dating, with the greatest impact being felt in what it truly means to date. The idea of a sentimental relationship is damaged when the user’s justifications for swiping right are based on superficial online personas. Societal expectations of beauty rise, as some users, upload their most Instagram-able pictures to captivate strangers trying to match with them. Not only does this apply to dating apps, but social media in general. In the online world, lying, catfishing- and posting the “perfect picture,” are examples of deception in dating apps which can ultimately be dangerous.  

“I feel like people have gotten so good at showing a fake side online, the side that everyone would accept and like. Plus I feel like meeting someone face to face and talking to them and being able to see how they react and respond is way better,” said anonymous.  

Not only have these platforms become the spawning ground for choosing a person on the basis of looks, but they have also created a new trend. It has become relatively common for people to use dating apps as ways of finding a quick partner. Though this may not seem like a significant issue, this way of thinking has led to an increase in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Similar to the argument regarding superficial appearances, the idea of using these apps for a hookup calls the desire for an affectionate relationship into question. Rather than looking for a permanent partner, young people have begun to prefer more casual short term relationships.

“I feel as though it has become really difficult to find someone when I use these apps. Everyone is looking for something short-term when I’m looking for something that is going to last,” said anonymous.

Though deception on a dating profile may just lead to an awkward date, it has the potential to be something much worse– human trafficking or sexual assault. In a 2016 Consumers’ Research study, found that around 57 percent of female online-dating users, compared to 21 percent of men, reported feeling harassed on the dating apps they used. The lack of criminal background or identification checks in dating apps such as PlentyofFish puts users more at risk with those who lie about any criminal behavior or history.

Though there are benefits to using online dating sites, it is important to stay informed of the risks accompanied by using them. Don’t be like one of the many fish in the sea and get lured into the net of the online dating pool.