Parents once warned their children not to talk to or meet strangers online. But these children have now grown up, and are have turned to online dating in the hopes of meeting their soulmates.

More and more Asian millennials are using dating apps to find romance and companionship. Technologically advanced countries such as Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, China and Japan are fast-paced, competitive, and results-driven. But, these come with a cost. In these countries, millennial professionals often work overtime and come home tired with barely any free time or energy left to socialise.

Dating apps provide a quick and effective solution to the problem of meeting the right person. Apps such Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, Paktor, TanTan and the like have a massive and continually growing user base in these countries.

It is easy enough to set up a dating profile. Users have the choice to be “the best version of themselves” to present to potential partners. Most of the interfaces of the apps encourage quick clicks and swipes on profiles of other users. One can say that it even feels like shopping for a significant other.

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Additionally, dating apps allow Asian millennials to expand their social circle. Since most of these educated professionals live and breathe in their workplaces, they are also unwillingly stuck with the same circle of acquaintances for a long time.

Dating apps provide them an opportunity to meet other interesting people with different hobbies or personalities but cutting short the long drawn out process of socializing through old school get-togethers, common friends, and the romanticised but unrealistic chance encounter.

Dating apps are, of course, run by sophisticated algorithms that function as the matchmaker millennials trust for their romantic prospects. A Japanese company is currently developing an AI which claims to be able to orchestrate a chance encounter between two potential partners using big data and the matchmaking algorithm.

A majority of dating apps on the market are free, but they also have the risk of data breaches such as the case of Coffee Meets Bagel in February 2019. Other malicious users steal someone’s identity and create fake user profiles on dating apps, otherwise known as “catfishing.”

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Some critics have argued that dating apps may pose potentially damaging consequences for a person’s self-worth and perception of others.

There exists the pressure to present one’s best self which is probably not the most authentic self-image. The quick swipes also give the illusion of endless browsing possibilities, making the user unable to choose to commit to one person.

“Ghosting” is a phenomenon popularised by dating apps when users no longer reply to messages and leave them unread or perhaps more painfully on “seen.”

But, Asian millennials are still hopeful of finding their happily ever after through dating apps. Who knows, the next swipe might be their match made in algorithm heaven./TISG