As age increases, so does a desire for love. With limited mobility, however, it can be a bit of an obstacle. For this reason, this review will be assessing Christian Mingle and Tinder, and whether or not these applications alleviate social isolation and loneliness in older adults. Christian Mingle is a dating website that helps Christian singles find love within their religious preferences, and is intended for finding long term relationships. Downloadable on any iPhone or Android device, Christian Mingle can be accessed on the go or on any computer through the website, at the cost of $30 a month. This website requires some basic information such as name, birthday, age, and gender, along with more detailed information such as favorite hobbies, past work experience, and what one desires in a significant other.
Tinder is a quick and easy hookup app that can be accessed on any iPhone or Android through downloading the free app. All that is required is basic information and an updated photo of yourself along with current location, so the app can detect your location and find someone to your liking. The process is simple, as you scan through a multitude of pictures and ‘swipe right’ if you find attraction in the person and ‘swipe left’ if you do not have any interest in that person. If someone ‘swipes right’ on your picture as well, you will be notified via text message notification, where you will be given the contact information to contact your potential match.
Benefits and Drawbacks
According to the direct effects model, social relationships can lead to both physical and mental benefits (Ingen, Rains & Wright; 2017). Lack of adequate social support among older individuals has been linked to higher morbidity and mortality rates, increased depression, and a variety of other mental health problems (Ingen, Rains & Wright; 2017). Though major depressive disorders are not entirely common in older adults, socialization is key in maintaining an overall better well being (Burzynska, 2017). Technologies intended to improve the well being of older adults show significance in expanding and sustaining social contact as well as great potential in reducing loneliness, which is why the use of applications such as Tinder or Christian Mingle could greatly benefit an elder adult. (Khosravi, Resvani, &Wiewora; 2016).
As technology becomes more active in day to day life, older adults become increasingly familiar with it. Christian Mingle gives the capability of assortative mating while being more easily accessible in comparison to Tinder. The most common form of social networking use within older adults is through email, in which Christian Mingle gives access capabilities through constant email notifications (Ingen, Rains & Wright; 2017). This can be greatly beneficial as access is solely required through a single application. A major drawback with Tinder is the sole ability of being able to use the application through an iPhone, which is not accessible for all older adults. Culturally, Tinder draws in a pool of adolescents up until emerging adulthood, without much of a positive stigma towards usage through seniors. In order to best optimize this product, email notifications and the ability to use the application through emails exchange would drawn in a greater population of seniors.
This empirical study done by Ingen, Rains, and Wright examines whether or not social support through social media increases the well being of those in later life, with an independent variable of social media and a dependent variable of overall well being and functionality. The hypothesis is that time spent on social media sites is in fact associated with an increase in well being and a decrease in social loneliness, as well as time spent on social media sites moderating the relationship between functional disabilities and well being. The sample size included 2032 survey participants to analyze well being along with 1262 to analyze social loneliness, all over the age of 55 with both avid internet and non-internet users with guidance and computer access. Well being and loneliness were both measured through different series of questions indicating loneliness or social isolation. Functional disability was measured through participants indicating activities they needed assistance with and others they did not. In order to address online applications, researchers asked participants about the amount of time they spent online shopping or using social network sites. Results of this study indicated that most older individuals vastly use email as their primary form of social networking. It was also indicated that there is statistical significance for subjective well being and loneliness with social networking interaction (2017). In a meta analysis conducted by Khosravi, Rezvani, and Wiewiora, various types of technologies are examined for their effectiveness in improving the social lives of older adults. These researchers investigate the technological inventions proposed to reduce social isolation and their effectiveness in decreasing social isolation in older adults. The purpose is to advance our understanding of useful technological interventions in socialization, to provide insights into whether or not these products prove to be effective, and to educate on how to assist older adults in taking advantage of these technological advances. A systematic literature review approach of 34 narrowed down studies was used in searching for studies circulating around seniors and social isolation or loneliness. Results showed that general internet use provides means of communication that are effective amidst all ages and do in fact help older adults overcome isolation. Social networking sites have been helpful in assisting in the continuity of social relationships within seniors, contributing to their overall well being. In conclusion, some technologies do in fact impact loneliness and a positive well being (2016).
Burzynska, Aga: Lecture (2017).
Khosravi, P., Rezvani, A., & Wiewiora, A. (2016). The impact of technology on older adults’ social isolation. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 594-603. doi:10.1016/j.chb. 2016.05.092
Ingen, E. V., Rains, S. A., & Wright, K. B. (2017). Does social network site use buffer against well-being loss when older adults face reduced functional ability? Computers in Human Behavior, 70, 168-177. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2016.12.058