Swiping Right: Are Dating Apps Worth It?

It has been over 6 years since the dating app Tinder was unleashed onto the world and since that time the very notion of single-life has been completely transformed.

Although online dating had been around since the mid-90s, Tinder marked a watershed moment for Millennial singletons across the world. The success might be due to some impressive digital marketing campaigns

Services like Match and Plenty Of Fish had been making a pretty penny from middle-aged singles for years, but these sites had not made online dating an attractive prospective for younger people. The sign-up experience lacked immediacy and (worst of all) these dating services were associated with desperation, a last-chance saloon for socially awkward or unattractive people to find their life partners.

Although Tinder might have been lumped with its fair share of stigmas since its meteoric ascension, this new service provided young people the opportunity to quickly sign up, link their social accounts and get swiping within a matter of minutes. We’ve reached out to a few young people to get their say on how they use the app and how it has affected them:

Brad, 20

I started using Tinder last year after I broke up with my long-term girlfriend. I’d pretty much spent the whole of secondary school with this one girl and felt like I’d really missed out on those early years of interaction with the opposite sex as a result. When I got to Uni I wanted to make the most of my new single life, so I started swiping and I haven’t stopped since!

Jenna, 25

I’ve been messing around with Tinder for years, but it’s impossible to tell how serious someone is. Although it might sound a bit cynical, I always expect the worst of guys using these apps. It’s so easy for a deceptive individual to appear that they have the best intentions over messaging, but it’s always clear what they’re really after as soon as you meet them in person. Sometimes it can feel like a real waste of time.

James, 23

I’ve always found nightclubs really oppressive places to meet new people. The music is always too loud and there’s this under current of sexual tension that I find really uncomfortable. Although Tinder is definitely rife with sexual possibilities, I find it so much easier to get a simple conversation going which can then lead to a real-life dating scenario which feels more romantic and in-line with how I’ve always seen dating.

Mike, 24

My experience with Tinder has been mostly disappointing. Loads of my mates are always boasting about how many matches they get and how much they’re getting laid, but I’ve just not had the same kind of luck. I’ll go for days on end without a match, and when one finally comes along the chat will quickly peter out until I’m left twiddling my thumbs again. If anything I feel more alone than I did before!

Callie, 19

If my Mum knew about half the things that guys have said to me on Tinder she’d probably have a heart-attack. Me and my friends all signed up as a joke, we thought it was fun to increase the age range as much as possible and see how many random men would start chatting to us – I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised to find that there were so many creeps out there. I’ve never used the app seriously, it’s just a bit of fun for me.

Five Simple Steps To Getting Fit

Are you looking to get fit?

As a student currently in the throes of a challenging Masters course I’m acutely aware of my fitness starting to suffer.

I’m a very single-minded person, meaning that I tend to only focus on one thing at any given time. As far as I’m aware, I’m the only one of my friends who’s like this and if I’m honest it gets to me from time to time. I’m part of a very active group of individuals, we all exercise and we all try to eat healthily, but whenever I have a big load of course work to get done my fitness automatically gets put to the wayside and I find myself indulging in all the wrong foods and spending all of my spare time holed up in the library, instead of exercising.

I don’t need to weigh myself to know that my fitness level is dropping, my energy levels begin to drop earlier in the day and I find that my mood begins to suffer as a result too. Thankfully, I’ve got plenty of friends studying Sports Science qualifications who can help me out and after recently getting ‘back on the horse’, so to speak, I thought I’d share how I was able to regain my fitness. This is a very general guide that should be able to be applied to all kinds of people, regardless of your current fitness level or experience. Before we jump into it I want to just remind you that everyone is different, we all have different thresholds and it’s really important not to rush into a lifestyle change without a bit of caution.

Get motivated

You can’t get fit without the motivation to do so. If getting fit is more of a vague dream rather than a concrete goal then you’ll likely not stick to your plan and soon return to your old habits. In order for change to occur you must want the change to happen. Making your fitness a priority is a key part of this journey, if you don’t value your fitness highly enough then you simply won’t succeed.

Set yourself a target

Having a target in place is absolutely key in getting fit. A clear defined goal helps to keep you focused and allows you  to track your progress. Whereas many people still choose to use their weight as a metric I’d warn against using it as a goal. Being lighter on your feet does not necessarily equate to being more fit. Your goal should be performance based – so you could time yourself jogging round a park and then set a target of beating that time in the course of the next month.

Make an exercise and nutrition plan

A structured plan is key to you making progress. Try and get the help of a fitness professional when putting it together as it’s really important that your plan reflects your current capabilities, as well as taking into account your lifestyle and how much time you have to commit to getting fit. You’ll also need a rough nutrition plan which might mean making a food diary of your current intake. If you’re going to be exerting yourself more then you might find that you need to be eating more to fuel this exertion, just make sure that you’re eating more of the right food.

Get stuck in but stay grounded

Once you have your plan then you’re ready to go! This is the fun part, with the right motivation, a structured plan and a goal in place you have everything you need to get fit but don’t let your new fitness plan completely absorb your life. You’re only human, so you should pay attention to what your body needs and have the flexibility to adapt your plan should you need to, depending on your calendar, budget and how your body is responding to your new regiment.

Assess your progress and re-evaluate

Once you’ve reached your target it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate how far you’ve come and where you want to go next. You might be happy continuing your current plan or you might have an even bigger ambition, only time will tell and only you will have the answers.

Best of luck!

Jess Fullwood is a contributor to Young People In Focus and Social Sciences student, her work mainly involves how the causal link between 21st Century Technology and modern day relationships.

Body Dysmorhphia

Body Dysmorphia is a mental health issue associated in the public’s mind with women rather than men…

…this comes as little surprise when you think about the societal expectations that have been put on each gender over the last decades.

Those expectations have slowly been changing though and as a result men and women are now subject to a much wider range of social pressures ranging from cultural expectations to how they should conduct their relationships, to how their bodies should look and how they should dress.

The way that we perceive our culture has changed irrevocably over the last century. Just take a look at this photo from the 19th Century:

These men are certainly stylish, but there’s a great deal of similarity between what they’re wearing. At this point in time society expected the individual to conform to the norms and individuals wanted to do so. In order to fit in with society and avoid vilification the individual had to sacrifice a certain amount of autonomy and personal choice – but once they had to so they could be considered a part of the wider society. This wide-reaching cultural identity was enforced through interpersonal connections and persisted due to the lack of social mobility that existed at the time.

Flash forward to the 21st century and it’s clear that things have changed somewhat. Take a look at this photo:

Today people of all different walks of life mingle and present themselves in whatever way their own culture dictates. Thanks to globalisation and the growing influence that the internet has on us we are no longer expected to conform to a specific fashion or style, how we choose to present ourselves is completely dependant on the complex set of social rules that are dictated by our upbringing, our perceived social ranking and our own cultural preference, to name a few.

By enveloping ourselves in our personal cultural bubbles we have become more susceptible than ever to developing psychological issues that affect how we choose to lead our lives from the clothes we wear to the food we eat and how we spend our spare time. The insular nature of technology is pervasive and subtle at the same time, many people do not consider the effect that it has on them and allow their minds to be freely manipulated by the whims of social pressures which has led to a rise in Body Dysmorphia in both men and women across all ages.

People are growing increasingly uncomfortable with their bodies and, unfortunately, this discomfort does not remain internalised. Men and women are now acting upon their compulsions. Breast enlargement/enhancement surgery is at an all time high, as well as minor surgeries such as botox fillers and it’s not just women who are going under the knife in order to readjust their image. In a recent study it was found that the prevalence of Body Dysmorphia is actually higher in men than it is in women.

‘Bigorexia’ is the new term given to men who believe themselves to not be large enough and it’s a condition that is starting to pick up steam without any sign of slowing…

Jacob Meyersmith is the site editor for Young People In Focus who works as a freelance web developer, he’s a self-confessed nerd who likes to keep one eye on societal shifts.