Dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge have ushered in an era of dating where people can meet and interact without having to do much more than swiping left or right.

But most students prefer to meet romantic and sexual partners without dating apps, according to Pipe Dream’s sex survey. Although just 10 percent of respondents said dating apps are their favorite way to meet partners, almost 50 percent said they still use the apps. The majority of respondents said they use dating apps to find casual romantic partners or hookups.

Jason Russo, a sophomore double-majoring in English and psychology, said he prefers to meet possible partners in person to look for chemistry.

“I personally dislike using dating apps because I find it difficult to establish a genuine connection with someone,” Russo said. “So much is lost in just a profile with a few pictures and words about an entirely complex human being. I also think people are less motivated to actually go on a date or hang out with someone based off an interaction on an app versus meeting someone in person.”

But others find themselves tempted to use dating apps because of the convenience of being able to vet potential dates and leave them in the dust if they disappoint. ‘Ghosting,’ a term for when someone begins ignoring messages, is common on dating apps, with 53.2 percent of sex survey respondents indicating they’ve been ghosted, and 63.8 percent saying they’ve ghosted others.

Cory Bremer/Design Manager
Sophia Cavalluzzi, a sophomore majoring in English, said dating apps give her the opportunity to easily connect with people she probably wouldn’t have met without using Tinder.

“I like using dating apps because they let me meet other people I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Cavalluzzi said. “Ideally I would prefer meeting people in real life, but online is convenient at times and gives me more of a chance to meet people looking for the same thing as me.”

Dating apps also introduce safety concerns for some students, with more than 40 percent of sex survey respondents indicating they don’t feel safe when meeting up with potential partners. Because most dating apps have fairly uncomplicated security policies, requiring only a Facebook profile to join, anybody can create an account and contact others using the app. Additionally, matches are generally based on appearance, which sometimes leads to ‘catfishing,’ when a person creates a fake profile using fake or photoshopped photos and reveals their true identity and appearance when meeting matches in person.

The focus on appearance also means that, for some, dating apps can be an outlet to seek an ego boost or acceptance. But others, like Daniel Linder, a senior majoring in art history, leave discouraged.

“A lot of people walk away happy from them, but personally I found it more toxic for myself,” Linder said. “It seemed like I was almost searching for this validation that I really could be just fine without.”

Despite the varied opinions, dating apps aren’t slowing down. According to Pew Research Center, attitudes have become more positive toward online dating and dating apps since 2005, and the usage of online dating and dating apps among 18- to 24-year-olds tripled from 2013 to 2016. Additionally, new apps are coming out steadily, with Betches Media having debuted their dating app, Ship, in January.