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The Impact of Technological Innovations on Sports Betting in Colorado: A Primer
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Stegall: Dating apps are killing modern romance

Stegall%3A+Dating+apps+are+killing+modern+romance
Collegian | Rashida Obika

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

On my 18th birthday, I downloaded Tinder in my dorm room, created a neon pink profile with all the excitement of a kid in a candy shop and got to swiping. And at around 10 p.m. on my 20th birthday, I stared myself in the face in the dirty mirror of a bar bathroom and swore to whatever powers that be that I would never download Tinder again. True story. There are witnesses, unfortunately, to both.

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I’m willing to bet that most of us who have been single at any point in our college careers have had a moment like this. Maybe, like in my case, it’s swearing off dating apps. Maybe it’s not hooking up with people we meet at parties. Maybe it’s not hooking up with anyone, period.

But in the age of internet-fueled hookup culture, how realistic are these promises? Is it possible to be a romantic when, arguably, romance within our society is waning? On the macro level, this point of view is quite bleak. But within the collegiate ecosystem, at least, I’m willing to die on this hill.  

Beyond dating apps, however, we tend to treat people the same as if we were swiping but in real life.”

Dating apps are largely to blame for this phenomenon, especially on college campuses, where many dating apps, such as Tinder and Bumble, actively advertise to a closed-off community full of brand-new adults with an insatiable craving for a good time. I once got a free coffee for showing a screenshot of my Bumble profile.

The mechanism of these one-size-fits-all apps has, in the opinion of this author, created a disconnect in the brain’s need for human connection. We can pluck a stranger out of thin air with incredibly selective — and not necessarily true — information to match our criteria for a life partner, and we don’t process that they exist beyond the pixels under our fingertips.

Height, star sign, hometown, Spotify most-played tracks, ideal first date, a picture of your dog. With this information come prepackaged responses that require little to no creativity or effort to get to know the person — “What’s the dog’s name?” is a common favorite. Not to get all hippy-dippy, but how are you supposed to choose someone to form a connection with if there’s no vibe to read?  

Touch-screen smartphones have created a world in which we no longer need to physically bear witness to someone else to decide we like them; in fact, “cold calling” — calling someone without texting to ask if you can call first — is generally frowned upon. According to CBS, 90% of Generation Z’s members, as polled in Australia, have phone anxiety.

With the inability to even speak to one another and a progressive lack of third spaces present in society, how else are we supposed to meet each other than swiping right? And when you swipe right on someone who, realistically, your brain hasn’t processed as a person but rather as a character on your phone screen, how are we supposed to connect on a level deeper than the surface? 

I know I sound jaded. And I am. I’ll admit to that. Plus, I know I also am about to sound like a prude. But that I am not. So bear with me.

Beyond dating apps, however, we tend to treat people the same as if we were swiping but in real life. There’s a lack of ability to socialize beyond the skin-deep facts and asking if someone wants to hook up. If you do, that could become a situationship. If you don’t, more often than not, there’s no further conversation. Now, hookup culture is no longer new, per se, but it certainly has been exacerbated by the presence of the internet in our daily lives.  

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Now listen — I’m all for hooking up. Sex is healthy and fun and should be able to exist freely. But we live in a world wherein sex is the basis and often the extent of virtually all relationships, even those that progress beyond a situationship, and that is not healthy. To view other humans as a means to an end, essentially, is rather scary, especially when that’s the expectation for many college relationships nowadays.  

To round out this traitor-to-my-generation diatribe, I would propose that all of us, myself included, take a break from our phones and search for connection beyond our pocket supercomputers and superficial hookups. To view one another as well-rounded human beings rather than dating app profiles is crucial to our development as the upcoming generation.  

Reach Hailee Stegall at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @stegallbagel.

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