Technology doesn't always make life easier... or bring us closer to those we love.

Posted on March 13, 2018

Intern Kaitlyn Cooper shares her insights on dating in the age of the cell phone.

Cell phones and technology are known for their ability to make communication easier. But do all of the screens, keyboards, and emojis actually improve those abilities? Or do they increase the possibility of a misconstrued message and the hoping for something that our phones can’t give us? When people first think of a smartphone the image of an iPhone or android pops up. These devices have revolutionized the way dating works in our society. They have made long-distance relationships possible with text, calling, and social media. They also open up the option for people to talk to others that they haven't met in the real world. Many websites and apps allow you to “meet” and talk to others halfway around the world. While the smartphone age has brought us more options and opportunities, are they really beneficial to us?

Technology has actually disconnected us from the people we love most. Everytime that I am out to eat, I see couples, both friends and those dating, sitting together at a table. But more likely than not, they are both on their phones, texting, snapchatting, or scrolling through Facebook. These supposed communication devices are putting up a wall between the person sitting across from us at the table. The appeal of having an actual conversation, making jokes, and living in the moment has been replaced with the need for the instant gratification that comes from social media. More often than not, the person texting you from 5 states over seems more interesting than the person sitting next to you.

Another downfall of online dating is the danger that it brings to youth. When you create a dating profile, it is easy to make up important details such as your name, age, and where you live. The 16-year-old boy from a small town in Colorado that you text every night could just as easily be a 40-year-old man living in Chicago, who is trying to get your personal information. Behind a screen and keyboard, it’s easy to lie. It gives the person behind it a sense of safety, like there are no repercussions to what they say. It makes young girls and boys vulnerable to online predators the same way that it makes targets more accessible to those predators. Many schools have implemented online safety workshops for students and their parents but are they enough to make our youth aware of the danger that lurks behind their screens? The phenomenon that makes kids and teenagers feel invincible applies to this situation as well. They hear stories on the news about a girl who was kidnapped by someone she met online and think that “It will never happen to me”.

Teenagers all over the world are using their smartphones to talk to people that they don’t know. Without the proper education on the risks that online dating brings, more and more kids are put in dangerous situations. They also put distance from the people that care about us. Technology is an important part of our lives in society but we need to remember the power that it has over who and how we interact with others.

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