Gone are the days when people only met face to face. Online dating has become the standard way for people to meet each other. Makes sense when you think about it – things have changed, our lives are busier and online dating gives us the ability to connect with a lot more people, and massively boosts our ability to find someone that we can really connect with. So it’s not a bad thing. With the advent of smartphones this has gone a step farther as dating apps are becoming nearly as popular as online dating, if not more. But there is a flip side to that, as there are concerns about the usage of dating apps getting to the addiction level. But is dating app addiction really a thing?
Read on to find out more about the latest research on dating app addiction, how dating apps can sometimes become a problem, and how to manage them effectively (and prevent them from taking over your life).
Dating app addiction?
A new research
on the impact of dating apps at the Ohio State University confirmed that dating app addiction is a real thing. The study found that people with a particular combination of loneliness or social anxiety were more likely to develop this kind of addiction.
The researchers of the study didn’t measure their participants’ social anxiety and loneliness levels. Instead, they looked into POSI (or preference for online social interaction). Some people developed problematic internet use, wherein they prefer interacting with people online rather than face to face because of social anxiety. This comes from the belief that chatting online is safer and some people feel more confident doing that than real-life conversations. The study also linked feeling loneliness to impaired self-regulation. One effect of impaired self-regulation is compulsive dating app use. This is why some people keep swiping left or right on Tinder, or check their OKCupid messages in the middle of a meeting at work.
The researchers surveyed a group of 269 undergraduate students, who use dating apps (a lot). The participants were asked to rate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with different statements. Statements, like “I’m treated better on dating apps than offline” and “I have made unsuccessful attempts to control my use of datings apps”, were designed to see how much they preferred online social interactions and how compulsively were dating apps used. The participants were also told to report any incidences resulting in the use of dating apps such as getting in trouble for using it while in class or at work.
Dating app addicts
Lead author of the study, Kathryn Conduto stated that she had witnessed the behaviour of a dating app addict firsthand. According to her, people addicted to dating apps would even take their phones out when they are having dinner with friends or in their group, to swipe! Now that’s compulsive behaviour.
People who are socially anxious feel more confident socialising with others using dating apps, hence they prefer meeting romantic partners digitally. Some people become compulsive users over time, especially with the addition of loneliness and lack of self-regulation, and this can often lead to getting into trouble for swiping at school or work.
Overcoming dating app addiction
The first step in overcoming addiction is becoming aware of and acknowledging the problem. People addicted to dating apps need to recognize when they are feeling lonely, and try to set limits for themselves, the study’s authors said. Low- tech loneliness fixes like spending time with a pet or reading a book, can be a good way to deal with loneliness.
What are your thoughts on dating app addiction? Do you have any experience with it? Share your thoughts, experiences and tips in the comments section below.