How online dating becoming problematic was inevitable
Murder, assault, abuse, sexual assault, racism, homophobia
Most would agree that online dating has become problematic in some regards. It’s allowed us to connect with people far and wide. In exchange, we surrender a degree of privacy and even more concerning, safety.
How many women do you know who send screenshots of their male date’s profile to their friends, send their date location, download apps that track their location? All in an effort to plan for the worst-case scenario; going on a date with a hetero man who many harm or kill them.
There have been a disturbing number of cases of LGBTQ+ people being lured to dates under false pretenses by heterosexual men who end up harming or killing them. Don’t believe me? Look up “LGBT + online dating + lured” and brace yourself.
Time and time again, the perpetrators of violence via online dating are heterosexual men. There is another deeply troubling component to online dating. One that is seldom addressed. Aside from the risks involved, there’s deep-seated objectification.
Online dating requires the same behaviour as online shopping.
There is no difference except that with the former, the product is a person and with the latter, it’s an inanimate object. Arguably, online dating desensitizes us to people as human beings.
We start to assess people based on their looks, their job, their income, their hobbies, their house etc. Yes, we’ve always done that in dating culture. However, the scale is what’s changed and that’s precisely what makes it dangerous.
The more you’re exposed to anything, the more you’re desensitized to it. We have the ability to scroll through hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Consequently, it’s difficult to continue to see them as human and not a product.
While we used to pass the same judgement on people in traditional dating situations, we were already on the date with them before this happened.
Therefore, our assessment would include considering their personality as well. Is it possible to get to know someone online the same way you can get to know them in person?
The Next Step
By no means am I suggesting that online dating is not a great option. I’m simply calling out that we would be mistaken to focus exclusively on the benefits without addressing the drawbacks.⠀
I’d love to know…
What has your experience with online dating been like?
Question of the Week
Should the internet be selectively censored?
Studies have proven that exposure to certain forms of online content leads to an increased likelihood to dehumanize a specific group of people or even commit violent acts against them. Two significant examples to point to are violent porn and hate crimes. What are your thoughts on online censorship for some types of content? Should censorship exist? If so, who controls it, and to what extent? Can we trust them to remain ethical with this control? If not, how do we justify the harm that comes to people as a result of a lack of censorship? Who would be most negatively impacted and why?
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