Dating in the Digital Age

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Imagine a time with long frilly dresses, slicked back hair, a gentleman standing at your doorstep with a bouquet of daisies hovering over a beat up 1950 Beetle.

Fast forward almost 66 years later, to you and your significant other chilling at home on the couch catching up on your netflix shows with a bowl of popcorn.

Throughout the years, the realm of the dating world has changed dramatically. Social media has changed how people approach relationships and the types of interactions that occur.

Years ago, social media didn’t exist. Couples had to talk in person or on the telephone —  there was no Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. Boys asking out girls on dates had to do it the old fashioned way; texting wasn’t an option.

Math teacher Mr. David Burkert remembers how nervous he was asking a girl in high school out on a first date.

“I was nervous when I asked. She said yes, and we went to play mini golf and then a movie. I tried very hard to let her win at mini golf because I was really good at it, and she thought that was nice and cute. After that, we got ice cream and then I took her home,” he said. “I was very nervous because she was captain of the cheerleaders and I played many sports and we were friends, but this was a whole new thing for us. The date was a success and we continued dating for two years.”

People use to meet potential dates through school, or through other friends.

But, now there are many different scenarios in how people could meet a significant other because of social media. People meet on dating websites, or different social sites like Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

“It’s typically easier to meet a girl if they are in the same school as you,” Junior Noah Kurtz said. “But a lot of times it can be through a simple Instagram direct message, or through a friend if they are from a different school,”

In 2008, just 3% of all Americans said that they had used an online dating site; by 2009 that figure had risen to 6% of all Americans, and today 9% of the adult population has used an online dating site.

THE GOOD AND BAD OF MODERN DATING

Teens seem split about the effect of social media on dating. According to an October 2015 Pew Research Center study, among teen social media users with relationship experience:

-59% say social media makes them feel more connected with what is going on in their significant other’s life, although just 15% indicate that it makes them feel “a lot” more connected.

-44% say social media helps them feel emotionally closer to their significant other, with 10% feeling that way “a lot.” Half do not feel that social media offers a space to feel emotionally closer.

Some students, like junior Kaleigh Gallagher, say that one negative effect of social media is that it has taken away the old fashioned chivalry that used to be common practice.

“I definitely think chivalry has died down throughout the years,” she said.

Some guys, however, like Noah, said they still try to be chivalrous when out on a date.

“When going out with a girl, it’s always the gentleman act to pay for whatever you may be doing,” he said. “Using correct words, being polite, holding her hand, and even kissing here and there can ensure a girl you’re humble and friendly.”

Guys would be wise to follow Kurtz’s advice. While girls enjoy the expanded opportunities technology provides, they also long for tradition.

“It can be something as simple as holding your hand, or opening the door to your car that never should go away, even as time ages,” junior Autumn Neumann said.

 

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