Online dating is becoming the norm with younger generations. According Pew Research Center, in mid-2015, 15 percent of adults had used an online dating method and 29 percent knew someone who met a long-term partner that way. In the 18 to 24 age demographic, those numbers were higher, at 27 percent and 34 percent respectively. They also found that since early 2013, use of dating apps increased from 3 percent to 9 percent, with a much sharper increase of 5 percent to 22 percent in the 18 to 24 age demographic [sources: Smith, Smith].
Apps like Tinder change the pool of potential mates for anyone using them and take away some of the guesswork of finding a date. If you see someone on a dating app, there's a better chance that they are looking to meet someone than if you see them in public. And if you mutually select each other, that means you're already past one hurdle without having to have started an awkward conversation about their sign or college major.
Dates themselves are reportedly trending more casual, with people meeting for drinks to inexpensively see if they have any chemistry rather than the cliché dinner and a movie. App users have even touted the cost savings of getting to know potential dates via chat rather than spending money in clubs, bars and other similar places right off the bat.
As with any new and widely adopted technology, people have raised fears that dating apps may affect our psychological health. Some think the large number of choices might keep us from investing in our current relationships, since there will always be someone seemingly better a swipe away. There's also an idea that, as with social media "likes," we may take the external validation Tinder matches give us too seriously and become unhappy and anxious when similar validation doesn't occur in real life. Dating apps also seem to make us objectify and sell ourselves to other users via idealized images. Looks-based judgements have always been part of gauging attraction to potential mates, but this rapid rejection or acceptance of static-images takes it to a new level.
As of yet, there haven't been many studies showing negative consequences. Only time will tell if Tinder is the end of relationships as we know them, or just another tool that we'll adopt as an efficient way to play the dating game.