By Sean Tseng
Technology permeates every aspect of life. Turn on your phone and countless apps fight for your attention with red-bubble notifications and endless information to scroll through. Social media overflows with unfiltered thoughts, littering platforms unchecked, and the latest victim of the internet seems to be the integrity of news and rise of “alternative facts.” Yet perhaps the most shameful victim of technology today, one that has been derailed in almost every way by contemporary lifestyles, is romance.
The toxicity of technology upon romance is clearly evident even on the most superficial of levels. The world of dating has been reduced to staring at screens for the perfect lighting and the most photogenic guy or gal to strike you as “the one.” Flowers at the door before a date have turned into bouquets of “I’m here” texts and two-dimensional rose emojis. The virtual vibrancy of technology has left traditional romance gray and withered. Just a cursory glance at society around us shows modern love trading in depth for simplicity.
Technology emphasizes efficiency and ease, two factors that repeatedly shortchange romance. The seemingly user-friendly “swipe right” format of popular dating apps like Tinder encourages superficial judgments and reduces attraction down to mere pixels on a screen. Convenience has trumped quality, and important conversations like break-ups are now occurring over the internet.
According to a 2015 Pew Research Center poll, 31% of adolescents have experienced a break up through social media or text. With such practices growing more and more commonplace, new generations are losing touch with the importance of in-person interaction. This tech-ridden lifestyle breeds bad habits in love.
Technology also poses as a point of contention within many relationships. A 2013 Princeton Survey Research Associates International survey found that 42% of 18-to-29-year-olds said their partners have been distracted by their phones. This conclusion was drawn from only a small sampling of the general population—some 2,000 people. Yet this issue is so prevalent that the internet has dubbed it “phone snubbing” or “p-phubbing.”
Phone snubbing, in which a person is ignored for the internet, happens so often that Princeton’s survey also found that 18% of couples in that small sampling had argued over the amount of time the other was spending online or on their phones. These numbers are only the tip of the technological iceberg that is ultimately sinking modern-day Jack and Rose’s love.
Beneath surface-level complications and inconveniences, high-tech dating introduces a world of uncertainty and danger. Online dating platforms are essentially markets, and those who advertise the best are the most successful. There’s no room for honesty. A quick search of “catfished” on Google yields a million results and several articles detailing the lengths some go through to lie their way into relationships.
In the age of technology, anyone is susceptible to being catfished or misled by online appearances. Many, from celebrities like college football star Manti Te’o or country singer Brad Paisley to everyday people, have fallen victim to the murky waters of scammers hiding behind virtual profiles.
Take the case of LA resident Paula Bonhomme for example, as reported by thoughtcatalog.com. In 2005, Ms. Bonhomme fell for an alleged firefighter named Jesse through online interactions. She exchanged numerous gifts with Jesse over the course of their relationship, totaling at $10,000 in losses when she realized the truth and unsuccessfully attempted to sue the responsible party.
Each aspect of modern love has been negatively impacted by technology. Courting has fallen flat, relationships have become strained and catfished victims have suffered consequences both emotional and financial. For all of technology’s convenient and inventive benefits, romance is most assuredly not one of them.