The Role of Technology in Relationships

First off, I was definitely disturbed by what I saw in Ryan Duffy’s The Japanese Love Industry video. The contents were bizarre and eye opening for sure, but I think the video also needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Japan’s culture is very different than ours. The host clubs, cuddle cafes, and other bizarre activities shown in The Japanese Love Industry are very unique, and I find it very unlikely that they will become as mainstream in the US in the future as they are in Japan today. I’m no expert on Japanese culture, but I think their go-go-go society where no one seems to have time for a significant other or meaningful relationships fosters the strange behavior Duffy unveils.

One think that does concern me moving forward is the average American’s increasing reliance on technology to maintain relationships. The downside I see with being “always connected”, is that you can spread yourself too thin, and not have any really meaningful relationships. Texting, Facebook, and other social media are great tools for keeping in contact with old friends. I’ve definitely utilized these resources more and more as high school becomes an increasingly distant memory. However, in my opinion nothing is better than a face to face interaction. I love hanging out with an old friend, or a family member, who I haven’t seen in a long time. As we grow older and our schedules become more busy, it is easy to use technology as a crutch to keep old relationships alive. But communicating over text or Facebook is not the same as communicating in person.

The value of a face to face interaction cannot be overstated when one is searching for meaningful relationships. Technology is great for keeping in touch, but it should be a means to an end, and not the end game itself. In Japan, it seems like people don’t think they have time to sit down and have lunch with a friend or family member. No wonder they don’t want significant others. From the video, I got the impression that there is more emotional detachment in Japan. Technology can promote emotional detachment, which again brings about the importance of seeing someone in person. I really enjoy taking a break from my busy schedule to spend time with a person I’m close with. I think that goes a long way towards maintaining a close relationship.

In the big picture, fostering meaningful relationships is important for our society to avoid the empty, fake, and bizarre interactions that Ryan Duffy discovers in The Japanese Love Industry. An over reliance on technology is not the sole or primary cause of this, but it certainly is a contributing factor and not something to be taken lightly.


5 thoughts on “The Role of Technology in Relationships”

  1. Zack, you mention how the Japanese are always moving and never have time for relationships, or even time for friends. But how different is that from America? Even in the last couple of decades, the average age that people get married is later, closer to 30 than to 20, and it’s because people (specifically women) are more involved in their careers and don’t want to stunt their growth in a company in order to settle down. Although the film was alarming, and I definitely agree that America isn’t looking to start opening cuddle cafes any time soon, I think the Japanese may have a point.


  2. I like how you point out that, “Texting, Facebook, and other social media are great tools for keeping in contact with old friends.” I think this is an important aspect of our connectivity to bring to light. This is relevant because we are now more connected than ever due to technology, and even though sometimes it can be blamed for tarnishing human interaction, it actually helps facilitate lasting relationships with persons you are removed from by distance.


  3. I’m so happy someone pointed out the cultural differences! This is a major consideration that many people tend to forget. I hope that Americans will continue to value traditional relationships and consider the manner in which technology is affecting their lives.


  4. When you mentioned that you got the impression that there was more emotional detachment in Japan I began to think about certain aspects of the video once again. I thought about the cuddle cafe and how the woman lying next to Ryan never had much of an expression, let alone crack a smile. I attempted to picture something similar in our culture and simply could not imagine it playing out in a similar fashion. I am very much in agreement with you regarding the importance of face-to-face interactions and the fact that while social media sites can be helpful to stay in touch with people, it is not the end game.


  5. I think you are over-estimating differences between US and Japanese culture. marriage rates are down. 35% of new marriages are couples who met on-line and 45% of those used pay dating sites.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s