Love me tinder
Social-media apps aimed at hookups promote superficial judgments
Between classes and extracurricular activities, time spent searching for love is fairly limited at college. But social networking sites such as Facebook have made it easier, with apps specifically designed for finding someone to love — or in this case, bang.
Recently, Facebook came out with an app called Bang with Friends. According to a Huffington Post article, Facebook users can sign into the app, search for friends and click a button that says “down to bang.” Users’ desires are hidden unless both parties are “down to bang.” Then the app pairs them and the two are notified of their mutual interest. This app is offensively blunt in its objective and promotes meaningless hookups, but the bigger problem lies in the ability of the app to reach teenagers. About 10 percent of Facebook users belong to the 13-to-17-year-old demographic, an age group far too young to be rating people to casually “bang.” One of Bang with Friends’ creators acknowledged this potential problem and told The Daily Beast, “I would definitely block [my little sister] from using it … we should actually create custom alerts if any of our younger siblings log on and then just completely shut down the site for them.” Whether he said that because of his sister’s age or because of her relationship to him, his statement shows the app is not intended for younger people yet it nonetheless has the ability to reach them. The 13-to-17 year old age group is still developing mentally and may not be able to handle the emotional ramifications of casual sex, which is what this app promotes. They also are probably not as informed as they should be, for example, about contraception, risk of infection and unintended pregnancy. Teenagers are most likely not the intended targets of Bang with Friends, but many of them have Facebook profiles and could therefore easily access the app.
Bang with Friends is not the only app aimed at pairing social media users. Tinder is a new app that connects to your Facebook and shows you someone nearby you may know who is single and around your age. After seeing the picture of the candidate you can choose to “like” the person or skip to the next suggestion. If someone you like happens to like you back, Tinder lets you chat within the application. Though Tinder is less offensive than Bang with Friends and does not directly promote inappropriate behavior, it is not any more acceptable. Being able to rate other people’s pictures is demeaning. Although people you rated may never find out you rejected their pictures, the app encourages judging people based only on their appearances, which is incredibly superficial. As if young people in today’s society were not insecure enough, this app lowers their confidence by allowing the opposite sex to rate them based on just one picture.
Some may argue those who sign up for Tinder and similar apps are voluntarily accepting the fact that others will judge them based only on their looks. But young girls and other groups who might purchase Tinder simply because it is popular right now might participate without understanding the consequences. Sooner or later, they will discover how disappointing it is to be judged for your looks and how degrading it feels to be matched with a boy on Tinder only to have him message you, “wanna sext?” In addition to the negative emotional consequences, Tinder also gives rise to the possibility of online predators, which is a threat any online chat system must take into account.
Finally, these apps just do not work. Some members just use the app as an excuse to flirt with every person they are paired with, whether it be five people or twenty. Take for example the boy I was paired with in a chat on Tinder. Let me preface this anecdote by saying I only downloaded the app for research purposes. I talked to him for a bit, and when I told my roommate about him she showed me her Tinder and the conversation she was having with the same boy.
He was using the exact same tacky pickup lines on both of us and, needless to say, he and I did not work out. I can only assume that mass texting, where someone sends the same text to many different people, is a common occurrence with these sorts of apps, spurred by a desire to get as many people interested in you as possible and to increase your pool of choices. Though this behavior may be an inevitable outcome of apps such as Tinder, it undermines the app’s intent.
With any luck, the hype surrounding Bang with Friends and Tinder will fizzle out soon. These apps may have been created with the intent of forming relationships, but in reality they promote the superficial judgment of human beings and instill in teenagers’ developing minds the idea that sex or “banging” is casual and can be obtained by chatting with strangers.
Meredith Berger’s column appears Mondays in The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.