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Technology affects dating interactions

Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 13:04

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ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY have changed the ways couples communicate with one another. Many use Skype and texting to interact when they can’t physically be together. KELSIE MASON photo

     In the generations represented throughout much of the college scene, not many can remember a time when there wasn’t some kind of computer around. As technology grows and changes, so do the ways students communicate with those closest to them.

    For Megan Braithwaite, a junior majoring in special education, one form of technology that has changed the way she communicates is Skype. A software application, Skype allows users to make phone calls and video calls over the Internet. She said Skype was the best way to keep in contact with a man she dated for a number of months.

    “My favorite thing to do was Skype,” Braithwaite said. “You get to see each other, and they were longer and better conversations.”

    Braithwaite said her relationship was primarily long distance, with communication only  happening through phone calls, texting and Skype.

    “Technology, in general, made it easier for us to have a long-distance relationship,” Braithwaite said. “It’s not like you don’t get to communicate all week. We didn’t have to just talk on the weekends.”

    Braithwaite said texting in the relationship was never the best way to communicate because it created imbalance.

    “One person would be communicating more than the other person. I don’t like (texting) very much.” she said. “Technology can hinder talking face to face and make it more scary to talk in person.”

    In an informal online survey asking about technology and the way it has affected student relationships, texting was the most common medium for communication between couples.

    The main reasons for using technology included “convenience” and “out of habit/need to communicate everyday things.” Nearly all students indicated that their relationships would be completely different without technology.

    Rickie Warr, an undeclared freshman, didn’t have a phone until she came to college, so she said she “was forced to interact face to face with people.”

    “It’s definitely harder than texting. Texting is easy,” Warr said. “But you can’t get to know someone through texting. And you don’t get the whole tone of what they may be saying.”

    Amanda Allen, another undeclared freshman, said relationships can feel incomplete when too much of the communication element relies on technology.

    “Relationships can’t be as heartfelt through only technology,” Allen said. “You just see words typed by them, you don’t know them.”

    Allen said not just just physical touching is void in a relationship based solely on technology, but other, smaller things that let a significant other feel loved can be missing, too.

    “You can’t do the little things with only technology,” Allen said. “You can’t do those things that make people important to you.”

    Andrew Haws, a sophomore majoring in economics and international business, said technology is primarily used to communicate and connect with people — especially significant others.

    Because he’s in a relationship, Haws said he uses communication technology much more than when he was single.

    “I definitely text more being in a relationship than not,” Haws said.

    He said when he and his girlfriend can’t physically be together, he uses technology to stay in touch.

    “We Skype when one of us is away for an extended period of time,” he said.

– mandy.morgan@aggiemail.usu.edu

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