Virtual dating in China spurs controversy
By MEGAN FLOURNEY
Gone are the days of courtships and going on dates. Online dating, and even virtual dating, are now the norm.
China has a new service that offers a “virtual lover,” according to CNN. For about 20 yuan, or $3 a day, one can “hire a boyfriend or girlfriend to talk to on the phone or chat online to make you feel like you’re in love,” said Zhang Dayu from CNN Beijing.
Both men and women can choose their ideal lover from numerous options, such as doll-like girls or mature women for men, and, for women, a comforting man, funny lad or understanding uncle.
These virtual lovers and their significant others do not share personal information or photos and are not allowed to engage in video chat.
As enlightening as a relationship with “no strings attached” sounds, it seems to be very dangerous. These “virtual girlfriends/boyfriends” are involved with many lovers at once, and I feel that would pull on the heartstrings of both people involved.
Both sides of the relationship have potential emotional struggles, and those involved must be careful not to get attached because this dating service is completely unlike online dating services. Online relationships can be healthy if they turn into real physical human relationships. With online dating, men and women talk, meet face-to-face and sometimes continue these real relationships.
The virtual lover dating service is nothing like this.
Compare this with prostitution services. The virtual lovers are paid for the services they provide, and although they are strictly emotional and have no physical or sexual ties, they are still human services and are unethical.
Using prostitutes, as well as these virtual lovers, brings about a number of emotional issues that might not exist if someone chose a different dating system.
Aside from the emotional problems these types of relationships can bring, there are many social problems that could arise as well from this complicated dating systems.
Dayu states in the article from CNN that psychologist Paul Yin said, “Many young men can’t find enough courage to approach girls they find interesting because they fear rejection…they can gain confidence and feel loved through this experience and there’s no risk in getting frustrated from setbacks.”
As true as this is, it does not mean this approach to dating is healthy. These men and women who have issues approaching others or maintaining relationships will continue to have these issues if they hide behind technology and do not engage in social interactions.
From the outside, having a virtual lover may seem like a beneficial idea, but it carries more emotional ties and struggles than imagined. For these reasons, I do not support this service, and discourage anyone from getting involved in these types of programs.