Opposing viewpoints: The death of the authentic relationship via technology


Fatima Elfakahany, Reporter, Photographer

One cannot escape the notion of love. The concept exists in every part of our society: in music, in movies, in books and, perhaps most importantly, in people. In the age of technology, however, love does not exist as it did twenty years ago.

Technology allows the current generation to “hook up” quickly and easily, preventing the growth of authentic relationships. People can contact each other for a casual, simple encounter that contains the message of “no strings attached.” With the introduction of new online dating sites and dating apps (such as Tindr and Grindr), the arrangement of such casual encounters proves easier than ever before.

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 38 percent of people who are single and looking for a date reported using an online dating site or app. Have their endeavors been successful? Generally, no, yet people remain convinced that such undertakings are helpful.

The claim, however, is that technology has actually allowed couples to remain close even across long distances. But we have all heard that long-distances relationships do not work, and according to The Center for the Study of Long-Distance Relationships (yes, that exists), 40 percent of all long-distance relationship ends in a break up. What many people seem to forget when arguing that the hook-up culture does not exist lies in that many relationships contain a physical aspect that long-distance relationships cannot fulfill.

Yes, FaceTime and video-chat can help a long-term relationship last, but it appears as if it delays the inevitable rather than actually propels the relationship forward. Yes, dating sites and apps can help desperate singles to find partners, but oftentimes those partners are a one-time-only fling. Yes, such types of relationships existed for quite some time, but technology not only makes having them easier, it makes having them seem okay. If everyone does it, why can’t I?

Technology connects people, but only superficially. Nothing can replace the act of seeing someone every day in person. Technology, in truth, may cause more of a disconnect, because people are staring at their cell phone or computer screens rather than into other people’s faces. Intimacy appears to be missing from many of today’s current relationships. This emotion requires people to expose themselves down to their most vulnerable position, allowing someone else to see us for who they really are, not just who they present to the world.

I think that a lot of people dislike the concept of “baring their souls,” in a sense. While such dislike has always existed, technology allows people to hide themselves even more effectively today than the past: it is much easier to lie to someone, to hide from someone, through a screen than face to face. Since these people keep their cards close instead of revealing them, most long-term, and long-distance, relationships fail, prompting more people to resort to the “quick and easy” hook-up relationships always available on the Internet.

Now, does this mean that the entirety of today’s generation does not know the meaning of love? No, it does not, but the number increases year after year. If recognition of the problem does not come soon, then I can only foresee true, authentic love being lost in the dark sea of technology.

Does technology cause a "hook up culture"?

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To read Adam Kovel’s opposing viewpoint, click here.