Every adult has gone through at least one breakup. It’s part of growing up and experimenting with relationships — sometimes the first five or ten or twenty just don’t work out, and somebody has to tell somebody else that it’s over. In the bad old days this was done face to face, with the possibility of loss of life and limb if things got too intense. So as technology, especially communication technology, has advance over the years, disenchanted lovers have taken full advantage of it to ease the pain and embarrassment of the old heave-ho. It’s been done with telegrams, special delivery letters, phone calls, and a host of other retro techniques that kept a safe distance between the breaker upper and breakee. Thanks to today’s super keen technology, the options for a long distance goodbye are more abundant than ever. Breaking up via texting is now the most popular way to end a relationship. In fact, statistics show that six out of ten Americans who have gone through a breakup during the past year probably did it by texting.
Of course it’s not just the death of relationships that wind up relying on the latest tech. “Those looking to begin a relationship are also the beneficiaries of modern tech” according to the CEO of the matchmaking service Kelleher International. Digital dating tools are now a huge thing among Millennials and younger generations. Websites are multiplying like crazy to provide sites were singles can meet, chat, set up physical appointments, and make instant decisions on the desirability of a host of men and women with similar tastes and goals. But not all Americans are enamored of the online dating option. Stories abound about meeting a serial killer for cocktails or being scammed by a photoshopped portrait and dicey resume. As of today less than a quarter of Americans will admit to ever using an online dating service. The figure is probably much higher in reality, but the telling thing is that people just don’t want to admit it.
More friends, less intimacy
And here’s the real conundrum with social media technology. The more people get connected online, where distance, culture, creed, and even language are no longer barriers of any importance, the less connected they become with their immediate family, friends, and community. Strange to say, people who enjoy scintillating conversations with Facebook and Twitter friends half a world away, are making less and less time for their spouses, children, parents, personal friends, and neighbors. Experts worry that the social contract that keeps communities alive and thriving is beginning to unravel, to the extent that while citizens of a community share their feelings and pictures of their pets online for hours on end, they won’t take the time to attend community action meetings or even register to vote. This is when the word ‘technology’ begins to take on a sinister meaning, losing some of its positive spin in the process.
And finally there is the danger to relationships and to individuals that new technology brings. Fake news, revenge porn, cyber bullying — these are all relatively new and very disturbing trends that take advantage of advanced internet technology to sow discord and make mischief. Lawmakers are just beginning to wake up to the harm new technology can create. Until they catch up with it, the internet is going to be a minefield for the unwary.