Dating apps: are they ok for Christian teens?
Why it's not a good idea to use Tinder, Bumble or other online dating apps
Online dating has become an increasingly popular way for couples to meet. Even Christian couples are meeting online or through apps these days!
But is online dating a good way for Christian teens to meet? Obviously the Bible has nothing specific to say about online dating and dating apps, given when it was written, but based on some principles we can draw out, I think it’s pretty clear that online dating and using dating apps really isn’t a great idea for teenagers.
Here are a few reasons why.
Dating apps fuel hook-ups more than actual relationships
Most popular dating apps, such as Tinder, are heavily associated with hook-ups, one night stands and short term flings. While there are definitely longer-term relationships coming out of some of these apps and sites, the vast majority of couplings are brief and superficial.
While it’s not wrong for Christians to date (in fact, it’s kind of necessary if you want to get married!), the world’s view of dating is really different to what we should be aiming for as Christians.
Dating for Christians is about getting to know another person over time. It’s about being selfless and serving the other person. It’s about seeking someone you could marry and moving towards that point.
It’s not about satisfying sexual urges or finding someone to hang out with because we’re lonely.
But these apps are often filled with people who want nothing more than to sleep with as many people as possible, or to find someone to keep them busy on a Saturday night. Taking part in that sort of dating is definitely not a good idea for Christians.
Dating apps remove friendship from the equation
When you sign up for a dating app or online dating service, everyone you connect with is going to know exactly what you want: a partner.
That means that the normal pattern that plays when Christian teens meet and start dating is removed. When you meet someone in real life, at school or church, it’s likely you’ll form a friendship before you consider dating.
Friendship is a great foundation for a romantic relationship, and later a marriage. And while it’s not crucial to be friends with your partner before you start dating, it’s certainly a really great way to get to know someone without pressure so you can make an informed decision about whether you should take your relationship further. Dating apps remove that step.
Dating apps aren’t that popular with Christians
2 Corinthians 6:14 tells us, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
In other words: don’t marry a non-Christian. And since dating is the precursor to marriage, it’s wisest for Christian teens not to date a non-Christian either.
While some Christians are using dating apps, they aren’t that popular with Christians (probably due to some of the reasons mentioned in this article!), so it’s going to be hard to find another Christian to date via an app or website. In all likelihood, you’ll run into plenty of non-Christians instead, who will be looking for very different things in a partner.
Dating apps can express a lack of trust in God’s timing
If you’re still in your teens, as most readers of Fervr are, let me encourage you: if marriage is something you want, you have PLENTY of time to find someone to marry.
Logging onto a dating app when you’re still in your teens can indicate that you’re feeling a little desperate for love, and worried that you won’t meet someone else in real life.
While some older Christians do choose to use dating sites and apps to find a partner when they feel they’re lacking opportunities to meet someone new in real life, that’s definitely not the case for teens.
After high school you might go to uni or college where you’ll meet plenty more people. Then there are jobs, friends of friends, new churches and social clubs. The world is full of wonderful people you can meet face to face and God will bring them into your path if the time is right.
God has a plan for your life, and there is no need to rush into romance. Trust his timing, and remember that if he wants you to get married, you will meet the right person eventually.
Dating apps are limited to ages 18+
If none of the previous reasons have convinced you to steer clear of dating apps, this definitely should: dating apps are limited to users over 18.
As Christians, we are called to respect the rules and laws of our land, because they have been established under God. If you’re under 18, it’s wrong to lie about your age in order to use any app or website, including dating apps.
And there’s a good reason they’re limited to 18+ - high schoolers shouldn’t be worrying about dating.
If you happen to meet a great Christian girl or guy in your teens and you’d like to date them, that’s great! Make sure you do it wisely (check out some of the advice on this site!), definitely, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with dating in your teens.
But don’t go seeking out a partner on dating apps. Trust God’s timing, enjoy your singleness, build friendships first and just keep your eyes open in case God brings that special person into your life.