One of the challenges encountered by new technologies is that they face a lot of hostility and blame for events which even if not directly, but indirectly is considered to be linked to them. Examples include how video games make people violent or how mobile phones have reduced the rates of social interaction. In this article, we would try to understand and answer one such claim: has the rise of rampant online dating increased rise in sexually transmitted diseases?
Online dating has made it possible for people to find romantic partners easily, along with facilitating the rise of what is usually called the “hookup culture”, that is, the tendency to use online dating sites and apps to participate in casual sexual activity. Now, this in itself is not bad as people are free to engage in any kind of activity as long as it is consensual. However, it has not prevented some individuals from finding a correlation between this and the rise of sexually transmitted diseases.
Briefly, sexually transmitted diseases are those that are caused through sexual activity and sexual contact. Examples of such diseases include Gonorrhea and Syphilis, and they have been one of the major diseases that has affected, disfigured and even killed thousands of people before the discovery of their respective antibiotics. Even though the invention of condom has helped to prevent the occurrence of these diseases, the taboo on sexuality and lack of medical knowledge prevented people from understanding how such diseases came into existence. It was not until the twentieth century that these diseases were understood and active measures were taken to prevent or treat them.
Therefore, from this brief overview, it is quite evident that any incidence of sexually transmitted diseases has no connection with online dating. Rather, the issue pertains to the lack of awareness on safe sexual practices and the use of condoms. The attempt at proving the existence of a correlation between online dating practices and the rise of sexually transmitted diseases is to merely blame those who engage in consensual sexual activity, rather than recognizing the problem for what it is and taking steps to solve them.
To conclude, the practice of online dating has no relation to the rise of sexually transmitted diseases. Rather, the best way to tackle the increase of such diseases is to increase the awareness about sex and sexual activity among young people, through sex education in schools and colleges. Sufficient attention must be placed on educating young people on safe sexual practices and the use of condoms not just as a contraceptive device, but as a tool that can protect participants in sexual activity from getting infected by various sexually transmitted diseases.