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Dating apps can be a convenient way to connect with folks you wouldn’t meet in the wild. They help you quickly scan through a bunch of people you wouldn’t be compatible with so that you can find someone who fits your criteria in a more expedient manner. But like all technology, this easy tool can be used for good and evil.

A new study from the Ohio State University interviewed 269 students about their dating app usage, and found that folks who describe themselves as lonely or socially anxious were more addicted to these platforms. The results were so extreme, their dating app usage interfered with school work and professionalism.

The subjects were asked to answer these questions from an online questionnaire: “Are you constantly anxious around other people?” to figure out their general levels of social anxiousness, and they were asked if they related to statements like: “I am unable to reduce the amount of time I spend on dating apps.”

Social scientists found that those who self-reported having high social anxiety preferred dating app meet ups over real life interaction. The problem with this correlation is eventually, these connects have to be taken offline, or they are a waste of time. Lonely folks can find themselves entrenched in this cycle–never actually making real flesh and blood bonds because of their internet addiction.

If this sounds like you, awareness is the first step.

Kathryn Coduto, lead author of the study, said in a statement, “Especially if you’re lonely, be careful in your choices. Regulate and be selective in your use,”

Working through this with a counselor or psychiatrist is best. They will help you navigate the emotional blocks that make you feel unworthy of real life love.

“It’s important to ask yourself, ‘Am I doing it to see how many people are out there? Am I doing it for my self worth?” Coduto said.

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