http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Woman_on_phone_Credit_Pexels_CC0_License_CNA_11_2_15.jpgDenver, Colo., Dec 23, 2015 / 07:14 am (CNA).- This September’s issue of Vanity Fair contains a pretty disheartening prediction for single people: the “dating apocalypse,” brought on by wildly popular dating apps like “Tinder,” is upon us.
Young singles are too busy swiping left and right on their phones making shallow, transient connections, rather than finding real love with real people. Romance is dead, proposes author Nancy Jo Sales.
What sets Tinder apart from most other dating app or online dating experiences is speed and brevity. Based on a photo, first name, and age alone, users decide whether to swipe left (to pass) or right (to like). With GPS tracking, the app also tells users exactly how far away potential matches may be, making life even easier for those just looking for a quick hook-up.
Shallowest dating app ever?
The biggest criticism of Tinder? It’s a seriously shallow app that turns people into quickly-judged commodities on a screen.
In a 2013 article by The Guardian, “Tinder: the shallowest dating app ever?” author Pete Cashmore explains the ick-factor, yet addictiveness, of Tinder when compared to another dating app called Twine.
“Of the two apps, though, Tinder sounded worse, just because it seemed so contemptuously superficial. There are hundreds upon thousands of women, about whom you know almost nothing, and you snap-appraise them with a single swipe. It’s a finger-flicking hymn to the instant gratification of the smartphone age. It’s addictive.”
Matt Fradd is a Catholic speaker and author and founder of The Porn Effect, a website with a mission to “expose the reality behind the fantasy of pornography and to equip individuals to find freedom from it.” In his ministry, he’s heard a lot of stories from young people about their struggle to overcome objectifying people through porn.
Fradd had some harsh words for Tinder.
“Tinder exists for those who would rather not purchase a prostitute,” he told CNA.
“I would imagine most people who use that app aren’t there because they’re looking for a chaste relationship,” he added.
And indeed, quite a bit of colloquial evidence backs him up. Alex in the Vanity Fair article said dating apps have turned romance into a competition of “Who’s slept with the best, hottest girls?”
“You could talk to two or three girls at a bar and pick the best one, or you can swipe a couple hundred people a day—the sample size is so much larger,” he said. “It’s setting up two or three Tinder dates a week and, chances are, sleeping with all of them, so you could rack up 100 girls you’ve slept with in a year.”
But Tinder doesn’t always have to be that way, users argue. It is possible to find people on the app who want to go on some good old-fashioned dates.
Tinder users speak
Ross is a twenty-something Nebraska-to-New York City transplant and a cradle Catholic who’s used his fair share of both dating apps and sites. When signing up for Tinder, Ross said, probably the most important factor in whether someone will find potential dates or hook-ups is location, location, location.
“Your region matters so much,” he told CNA in an e-mail interview. “In Nebraska, women date on Tinder. They really do….In New York, (most) want a distraction, attention, and/or a hook up. Not emotion or connections.”
Holly, a twenty-something devout Catholic living in Kansas City, said she has had success finding a date – and a pretty decent one at that – on the app.
“I went on a great Tinder date. Granted it was the only Tinder date, but we even went out a few times before things ended. At the time Tinder sort of freaked me out, but I decided to jump in head first and it was an enjoyable experience over all,” she said.
Many young people who’ve used Tinder also argue that the “shallow” critique is a bit overblown, considering that dating always takes into account whether or not a potential mate is physically attractive.