Out of thought came the word

Why All Online Dating Apps Should Carry A Health Warning

Research suggests that the negative psychological effects of using online dating apps can damage your mental health — but the dating platforms offer no advice within the apps to help users. Is it time for governments to step in? 

By Ben Arogundade. November. 01, 2019.

ONLINE DATNG APPS MAY now be the way that most single people connect, but for many single people it is emotional recovery, rather than dating or finding love, that is the primary objective of going online. As I discuss in my new guide to Internet dating, despite the fact that dating apps were designed for those who intended to meet, either for sex or relationships, we are now witnessing the effects of people using them instead to boost their self-esteem or to assist their recovery from past relationships — not by actually meeting people, but by mining their digital attention. When such adapted uses go well they can be of great benefit in helping the emotionally wounded feel better — but when they go wrong the results can be psychologically damaging. According to a study by America’s National Academy of Sciences, the same areas of the brain that are stimulated when we experience physical pain are also triggered when we experience rejection, and that this can result in feelings of low self-esteem and depression. Meanwhile, an in-house survey by dating app Hinge, revealed that 54 per cent of dating app users reported “feeling lonely” after swiping. 


ONLINE DATING DAMAGE

The culture of dating apps, like social platforms generally, have facilitated a world in which many online daters seek validation, not once in a while, but several times per day. Its users crave the constant sustenance of being narcissistically affirmed. It is the same obsessive behaviour characteristic of drug addicts. But for every day a person spends on the apps, feeling refreshed by those that like them, they simultaneously risk being corroded by those who do not. At any moment they may suddenly find themselves benched or brutally ghosted. It’s like being kissed and then slapped afterwards. This is magnified by the fact that Internet daters expose themselves to more rejection than they would in real life. In the analogue world, being turned down by someone you met at a party or in a bar for example, was manageable because it was limited in scope, but online a person can be rejected or abused dozens of times every day. A week spent using online dating apps can deliver more rejection than you would normally experience in a lifetime offline. This is the unregulated danger of digital culture — the dosages of everything are much higher. 


STATE-CONTROLLED ONLINE DATING?

So, how can we address this problem? Like any potentially dangerous commodity, all dating apps should now be issued with a government health warning, like we have with cigarettes. Or further, they should be nationalised, and re-classified alongside other basic utilities such as water and power. The emotional state of a country’s citizens, and the numbers who are or are not in loving relationships, should be of primary interest to all governments, as it directly impacts the wellbeing of nations and the costs of health and social care, crime and so on. Could governments to a better job of online dating than privately owned apps like ‘Tinder’ do now?


Ben Arogundade’s new guide to online dating is out now. (£9.99/$12.99)

Internet date book, My Terrifying, Shocking, Humiliating, Amazing Adventures In Online Dating

NEW GUIDE TO ONLINE DATING:

My Terrifying, Shocking, Humiliating, Amazing Adventures In Online Dating

Author Ben Arogundade recounts his journey as an online dater, during which time he was stood up, verbally abused, propositioned for sex and asked to be a father to an unborn child. Along the way he offers singles the secrets and best practices they need to know to boost the quality of their matches, and presents the latest strategies, research-based guidelines and innovations to take their online profiles to new levels of excellence. Get it now at Amazon, £9.99/$12.99.

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