The BBC has produced a short video investigating what effect dating apps are having on people’s mental health. It was a part of the ‘Like Minds’ series that explores real life stories and gives advice on how to cope with different mental health issues.
This episode followed three young British singles and documented their varying experiences with dating apps. It also featured an interview with Denise Dunne, a psychotherapist who offered expert insight into the consequences of too much swiping.
She initially explained: “[Dating apps] sort of create an atmosphere that psychotherapists would historically regard as slightly pathological and narcissistic.”
Will is a 21-year-old student who admitted to using Tinder everyday to find casual relationships. He said the nature of swiping encourages an idea that more people are available and he believes this is the main reason that he is single.
Denise Dunne elaborated that apps offer “an endless promise” of potentially perfect relationships.
The paradox of choice is regarded as one of the major downsides of online dating because the vast number possible partners can make it harder for singles to commit.
Alvin is a self-confessed Grindr addict and revealed he’d spent 8.5 hours on the app in the past week. Even when he’d been on a successful date he found himself subconsciously tapping on the tile simply out of habit.
According to Denise Dunn: “[Dating apps] very clearly [have] qualities that can encourage addiction.
“There is the repetitive action of swiping, which is soothing in the case of anxiety and then there’s the dopamine hit, that when you’ve been searching [for a match], you get what you’ve been looking for.”
She also explained that dating apps have contributed to the rise of damaging behaviours from users such as ghosting, the act of ending all communication with someone without any explanation.
Watch the full video here.