It is said the internet connects us all more than ever. It is much easier to make friends on the other side of the world and stay in contact with family members who move thousands of miles away; that part cannot be argued with and it is a wonderful thing in bringing people back together. Its detractors say that living in an online world, we are becoming too reliant on technology and neglecting our physical interpersonal relationships.
When we see stories like this, it is easy to sympathise with this point of view. A technology company in China is offering a Virtual Girlfriend service. For just £2-3 per day (roughly $3.50 – $5 USD), your “partner” will wake you up with good morning texts, phone you to listen to you complain and generally offer the online aspects of a relationship, those things that have made staying in touch easier throughout the day. Though it says that most people buy the service out of curiosity and never to use it again, they claim it is growing in popularity.
Is this a novelty? Or is it a sign of the times that we have come to value the virtual aspect of a relationship over the physical and emotional bonds of being with a real person?
Mirror Image and I live so far apart that we have to rely on this technology to stay in touch, but we know how vital it is to be together in person. An email, a text message and even a Skype video chat are no substitutes for conversation in person and snuggling on a sofa and talking and laughing together, sharing a bottle of wine and simply being together.
It is said that most people now have extended friendships with people they have never met and increasingly interact with our real life friends, people who often live no more than a mile or two away, in the virtual world.