News & Articles

The Benefits and Pitfalls of Online Dating

By Erin Goldberg, L.M.S.W.

If you are a young adult using dating apps like Hinge or Bumble, you may be one of many caught in the endless cycle of small talk and bad dates. You might even be wondering, how is this affecting my mental health?

While there are many benefits to connecting with people online, there are also negative effects of digital dating, most importantly, the effect it can have on your emotional well-being.

The Positive Effects:

  1. Reduced Social Anxiety: For people who get very overwhelmed in social situations, online dating can be a great alternative. It provides a more gradual progression of a relationship, which can help ease the anxiety.
  2. Matching Individuals: Online dating is a great way to find your “perfect match!” Some dating apps can pair you up with people who share interests, making it easier to enter into a setting without uncertainties. It may also take some of the pressure off exploring and having difficult conversations.

 The Negative Effects:

  1. Depression and Self-Esteem Issues: There is a link between depression and dating apps due to the frequency of meeting so many people that it can sometimes lead to rejection. This may negatively impact a person’s self-esteem and mood. Online dating can also feel isolating because you’re sitting behind a screen, searching and swiping, rather than interacting with another person.
  1. Anxiety: An increased feeling level of anxiety may happen right from the start as a person begins to put their profile together. An individual may find it hard to put their phone down, continually checking for a positive reaction from others once it’s live. A lack of almost immediate approval from others can negatively impact your mood and self-esteem.
  1. Dating App Addiction: Most individuals already spend a portion of their day in front of a screen. Adding in yet another instance of screen time by using a dating app can lead to addiction. A person may find themselves constantly chasing the high from feeling admired and loved as they fall into the cycle of continually updating a profile or repeatedly refreshing a search to find more people. The low feeling will come from how much this consumes your time and energy.

The digital world offers plenty of benefits to someone looking to meet and date others. But it’s important to remember to keep in mind the negative psychological effects online dating can create.

We crave connection and relationships with other people. Regardless of the platform, the goal is to find the best way to connect and build relationships with others, while staying true to ourselves, setting realistic expectations, and minimizing the negative effects.

If you feel like you aren’t sure how to best support your child, teen, young adult or yourself, Child and Family Solutions Center is here to help. Please call us at 248-851-5437 to get started with supportive services.