Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Humanities & Communication


Human Communication

First Advisor

Estella Porras


This essay focuses on examining the dating experience and interactions in the age of digital technology, specifically where social disempowered users of dating applications tend to reinforce systemic social oppression. This research draws from literature about communication ethics, critical theory studies, digital media studies and includes personal observations and experiences. Even though some apps have allowed minorities; the LGBTQ community, people of color (POC) and other groups, to interact in a platform where they share common interests, there are still some dating apps which are more mainstream. Dating within the same platform where ethical communication and intent has been swayed to a hook up culture online where people run high risks of safety and damage communication ties with other potential partners. Through meeting with strangers, the potential for physical abuse rises and communication strains are at a high rate through the use of dating apps. Besides the communication and personal risks aspects that face disenfranchised communities, I also highlight in this paper the dangers of safety and privacy issues associated with location- based geosocial networking smartphone applications also known as “GSN apps” (Rice et al 1) and the ethical implications of data mining.

My research process includes peer review articles that address angles of experience and risk from different minority groups as well as the general public. I examine studies about particular apps such as Grindr, Tinder, Chispa and Bumble where the authors highlight some of the dangers associated with data mining and data sharing by the use of GSN apps. I also include the voices of participants, highlighting their experiences while using the given dating application. This essay highlights how systems of oppression such - racism, sexism, classism and misogyny have carried over into the digital age, where; POC and the LGBT community have been victims of discrimination based on sexual orientation, stereotypes and assumptions about ethnicity. During a three-week period, I conducted interviews and a focus group with college students, including POC and LGBT community members in California, about their experiences using dating apps such as, Tinder, Grindr, Bumble and Chispa. The insight from interviews, plus my observation and articulation with recent scholar work create the foundation for this study. Growing up in the age of technology where the use of dating apps has grown over the years I wanted to understand its purpose in the college sphere, I began to indulge in the use of dating apps and engaged in conversations with friends and peers about the use of a dating app in hopes of creating connections. These conversations sparked my interest in dating apps and the way they are used by adults and young adults, specifically in a college campus while thinking about the implications of data collected by dating app companies from its users.