Is our obsession with social media helping or hindering our relationships? DESIblitz talks to British Asians about love in the digital age.
“Social media is a poison to modern romance.”
The recent surge of portable technology in the last decade or so has had a dramatic impact on our daily lives.
Mobile phones with an Internet connection appear to have single handedly changed how we pursue and maintain relationships.
Years ago, women were courted face-to-face before men asked them out. Love letters and expensive calls from a pay phone were essential to a blossoming relationship.
Today, men and women simply find each other on a dating website or app, and now social media is responsible for igniting new love affairs and maintaining old ones.
Both younger and older generations participate in this wide world of social media, and, despite differences in age, all use it in a similar way.
So this poses the question – is social media improving or hindering our relationships?
DESIblitz spoke to a diverse range of people to find out more about their use of social media to find love.
We found that the 90% of 16-25 year olds use their phones at least every hour, whilst 80% of over 60s use technology only 4 or 5 times a week.
When asked if they thought society could cope without technology, regardless of age, 65% said no.
It’s obvious the world has become obsessed with technology. So, is this a good thing, or will it be inevitably damaging to relationships?
The cost market for dating websites has increased immensely over the last few years. The industry is predicted to grow by $100 million (£70 mill) each year up to 2019.
Various people use dating or friendship websites as a way to build up new relationships, or find ‘the one’. In America, it is thought that 45-54 year olds are just as likely to date online as 18-24 year olds (Pew Research).
In this modern era, people also rely on social media to keep their relationships strong.
One of the main benefits of social media is its large influence on the survival of long-distance relationships.
Websites such as Facebook, and apps you can download such as Whatsapp, and Couple are giving long distance relationships the best chances of staying together than they ever have before.
Skype can also be used to help relationships stay alive, with the ability to video chat with anyone around the world at no cost.
This is hugely different to how relationships might have worked a hundred years ago where letters were posted, and lovers could wait up to weeks at a time to receive a reply.
Today, in our technological era, couples across seas, and or even just different cities can talk to their loved ones every day.
Hajesh in Birmingham says: “My girlfriend went to America for 4 months so FaceTime was really helpful, as we were able to chat with little effort.
“If it wasn’t for technology, I’m not sure how well we would have coped!”
Yet, it can be argued that the reliance on and obsession with social media can lead to an excessive amount of contact, or overuse use of digital platforms. Particularly as the opportunity is always there to contact somebody, and never have to feel alone.
Romance can fall pretty quickly if there is a constant stream of conversation throughout the day, ranging from ‘what you up to?’ to ending with a disappointing ‘lol’ as the conversation dies.
Abbreviations and text language have become the norm, making the concept of a ‘love letter’ pretty extinct in this era.
The best you’ll probably get is a love heart emoticon via text message which, as you can imagine, is not what our elder generation were accustomed to.
But of course, social media has arguably given more opportunity for cheating and affairs. Easy access to almost anyone can open up doors of communication never thought possible before.
Of those we asked whether they had ever seen anything on social media about a partner that caused them to feel upset or spark an argument, many people of the younger 18-24 age group were able to answer that with a definite ‘yes’.
The temptation to cheat is far more exposed, having attractive girls or dating websites plastered in your face at every turn.
The ability to log on to a computer and begin a chat within seconds is dangerously exciting for some people, and could be a contributing factor to reasons for divorce.
Bored middle aged spouses have such easy access to get to know somebody else over the Internet, but it can also lead them astray from their real lives.
It could be argued that before technology, relationships and marriages lasted longer.
However, this could merely be due to the fact that temptation was not so blatant, and there were less ways for people to be caught being unfaithful.
It’s a harsh way to look at relationships, but it could be true.
However, on a happier note, it could also be due to the fact that people interacted face-to-face more often, were not attached by the hip to their phones and have more interesting things to talk about than what happened on Twitter last night.
But from the visibility that social media provides, feelings of jealousy and suspicion are more easier to come by. Even character traits of competitive behaviour can be negative; always competing for a grander expression of love, or an epic love story splashed across a Facebook page.
Jesminda, a 20 year old student, suggested that a world where social media did not exist, may be better for relationships:
“I personally believe that technology has had a negative effect on society and relationships.
“There’s nothing more irritating than trying to have a conversation with someone glued to their phone! I don’t think that relationships need technology to work.”
She also describes technology as: “A poison to modern romance.”
Despite such extreme thoughts, 75% of over 25s admit that they would not remove all technology if they could.
While they understand the damage it could have on a successful relationship, they knew how life was before technology, and many of them actually prefer the way it is now.
Perhaps relationships did work better and last longer when social media and technology were not around.
Technology benefits us in so many ways, but it could be that it is merely our obsession with it that needs to change to allow our relationships to survive.
The Internet is seeing a rising trend in bullying videos, with Asian children and teenagers partaking or being victims themselves. DESIblitz reports.