But if you dare look at the data — as Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld has — you’ll see that dating apps haven’t made us any worse at relationships.
One of the main worries is that apps like Tinder basically just let you look at someone’s picture with a short description before you decide to swipe past them.
Tinder “is superficial because we’re kind of superficial,” Rosenfeld tells the Washington Post.
“It’s like that because humans are like that,” he says. “Judging what someone else looks like first is not an attribute of technology, it’s an attribute of how we look at people. Dating, both modern and not, is a fairly superficial endeavour.”
Whenever you walk into a room, Rosenfeld says, you evaluate the people around you — be it bar or church.
It’s not the technology’s “fault.” It’s serving human nature.
“How someone else looks is important to us — it always has been,” he says. “The visual cortex of our brain has a very powerful hold on how we interact with the world around us. There’s nothing wrong or really new with prioritising that.”
In fact, online dating may be enabling committed relationships in a more rapid way than would otherwise be possible. About a quarter of straight couples and two thirds of same-sex couples meet online, according to Rosenfeld. Not only that, but about half of couples who met online have married by their fourth year into being together, while half of the people who met IRL get hitched 10 years into dating.