Turning on Your Technology Can Be a Turnoff


Photo By Balbina Yang

Technology has changed romantic relationships, making face-to-face interaction less frequent and communication more impersonal.

By Balbina Yang, Features Editor

There is no question that technology is influencing high school teens. From online relationships to newly coined terms of endearment, such as ‘ily’ (I love you), ‘imu’ (I miss you) and ‘bae’ (before anyone else) sent via text, technology has changed the way we view our love lives.

“Every day, we’re becoming more reliant on technology, and relationships are following that trend,” sophomore Katie He said. “Just look at apps like Tinder. Gone are the days where you had to actually go places to meet new people. All you have to do now is curl up on your couch and swipe left or right.”

With technological improvements, there really is no need for one to go out and socialize. That is, why would you when you have dating apps on your home-screen and ‘ily’ saved to your keypad? Technology has allowed simpler access to things that could not be easily vocalized before.

For teenagers of the 21st century, it is difficult to imagine a world without electronics. Through Facebook, one can share and like photos; through Twitter, one can tweet and favorite viral videos and through iMessage, one can send the occasional ‘imu’ and heart-face emoji to a significant other. Using technology is painless, and with these benefits, people have opted to merge their social lives with their virtual identities.

According to a Feb. 9 Match.com article, over 40 million Americans use online dating services with an estimated 48 percent of couples breaking up over email. So many people are involved in Internet-based relationships, which goes to show that uploading signs of love onto the screens may have become just as important as expressing love face-to-face.

Even if a relationship starts with face-to-face interactions, it almost always ends up morphing into text-based “feels,” also known as waves of emotion that cannot be adequately explained. However, technology has indeed allowed people to keep in touch despite long-distance barriers.

“Since I’m in a long distance relationship right now, technology is keeping us close together,” junior Alvin Chung said. “Last year when we were still in the same state in the same school, technology was only a way to communicate while not at school; it did not hurt our emotional or mental health at all. When we were eating lunch, our phones were not a part of our face-to-face conversations unless we were just trying to take bad pictures of each other or one of us had to use it for some important reason.”

Although ‘ily’ is more convenient for button-pushing teens, actually sending that ‘ily’ or maintaining a relationship through tweets may not be as personal as one would hope.

“I personally do not like it when people overuse the shorthand “ily” and “imu” because it definitely devalues the meaning of the words ‘I love you,’” senior Nicole Menkart said. “Those words should be said to someone’s face whom you truly do love. The courage it takes to say that to someone in person is what makes it so special.”

According to a 2010 New York Magazine article, teenagers text each other more frequently than they have face-to-face conversation. In addition, emojis have proved to be better suited to deal with the “emotional heavy lifting for which written language is often problematic.”

It is likely that teenagers will continue to use emojis and acronyms. Even if they are as meaningless as they seem, they are labor-saving and their range of choices will only expand. Yet, as technology continues to advance, a crucial question comes to mind: is technology really that important compared to the role it plays in our social lives?

“Technology is a great source of communication and probably the best source,” sophomore Elyse Richards said. “You can contact pretty much anyone instantly. I would say that now that I have technology there’s no way I could live without it. Unable to contact friends, see what everyone is up to, watch TV, movies, I would feel so unplugged from the universe.”

With its pros and cons, technology has become a double-edged sword. Although it has made us forget the true value of a relationship based on physical contact, it has also allowed us to connect with millions of others through simple posts and messages.

In terms of relationships, whether filial or romantic, emojis and acronyms are likely to continue to flourish. Take “bae” (“before anything else”) for example; despite being another meaning for “poop” in Danish, the acronym has now become a word used and coveted as much as “omg” and “lol.”

With the upward trend in usage and the pervasiveness of media, little round-faced icons and words as long as three letters, it is safe to say that technology has become the truest “bae” of them all — even “bae” itself.

“Technology will continue to grow and people will continue to be reliant on it,” sophomore Emily Stein said. “Fads will come in which technology becomes ‘uncool’ but overall our world will continue to be taken over by technology and technology-based relationships will transpire.”