By Suzannah Young
In the world of Zoom classes, social media, and everything taking place virtually, dating apps have become the norm. In fact, according to Statista, an estimated 26.6 million people used a dating app in 2019. The majority of this group was college students.
According to Statista, of the multitude of dating apps, including Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder, Bumble is the second most-used dating app among all age groups, with 5.03 million users. Tinder takes first place, with 7.86 million users.
Barry student Darialy Alvarez, a sophomore communication and media studies major, is part of the latter group.
“I am not using a dating app currently, but in the past, I have used Tinder and Match,” said Alvarez. “The one I used more was Tinder, definitely.”
While most of the apps use similar profile creation methods, all have different ways of operating. On Bumble, women have the power to “make the first move” in a goal to “challenge outdated heterosexual norms,” according to their website.
On Tinder, users can mark their geographic location, age, sexual preference, hobbies, and other aspects about themselves. Based on that information, users are matched with potential partners and are given the option to swipe left or right. Swiping right indicates that they are interested in their match, where swiping left rejects the match.
Alvarez liked this aspect of the app, along with how safe she feels while using it.
“[On Tinder] not only was I being able to meet people at my age level, but also it made me feel less scared about being catfished,” Alvarez said.
Safety is an important factor that many users consider when using dating apps. For Tinder, Alvarez notes that college students must use a valid college email address in order to connect with other students.
To promote other kinds of safety, many dating apps have policies that are meant to protect users from harassment and manipulation. Violation of these policies can result in getting suspended or even banned from the app.
Despite these policies, approximately 36 percent of women and nearly 60 percent of people who identify as ‘other’ report being harassed through online dating, according to a study of 4,000 college students across the U.S. conducted by Rentable.
Sarah Ruiz, a junior studying communications, had a less than desirable experience using dating apps.
“There were just weird guys on there and they all want[ed] one thing,” Ruiz said.
Still, a study by Rentable found that dating apps are used for more than just that “one thing.” In fact, around 34 percent of students said the leading reason for using a dating app was for entertainment. About 16 percent of students said they used the apps for “casual dating.”
An equal number of males and females—about 11 percent--said they were using the dating apps for “love.”
However, over 10 percent more males than females voted that they use dating apps for “hook-ups.”
Despite the reasoning for joining the app, users like Alvarez get a lot out of it. Although Alvarez did not get into a relationship through the apps, she still enjoyed the overall experience.
“I got to meet so many people, and actually one of them is one of my closest friends now,” Alvarez said.
Sarah Ruiz, on the other hand, prefers to meet people the old-fashioned way.
“I like meeting guys the natural and in person way,” Ruiz said. “The in-person meeting part is really important to me.”
Still, many dating app users would recommend using apps at least once.
“I would encourage people to give it a go,” said Alvarez. “Just make sure you put your safety first.”