A t this point, there’s little dispute that dating apps work. Research has found that the quality of relationships that start online is not fundamentally different from those that start in person, and 59% of respondents to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey said dating apps and websites are “a good way to meet people.”
Good as it may be for your love life, though, swiping isn’t always all fun and games. Here’s how dating apps may be affecting your mental health – and how to use them in a smarter way.
Dating apps may hurt self-esteem
In a 2016 study, Tinder users were found to have lower self-esteem and more body image issues than non-users. The study didn’t prove that Tinder actually causes these effects, but co-author Trent Petrie, a professor of psychology at the University of North Texas, says these issues are a risk for users of any social media network that prompts “evaluative” behaviors. (A representative from Tinder did not respond to TIME’s request for comment.)