Cyber lovers not the answer

2017-07-30 13:22
Psychologists: tech can't replace real relationship interactions

Psychologists: tech can't replace real relationship interactions (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Waking up next to your girlfriend, taking her out for supper or getting into an emotional argument can now all be done staring at your computer screen.

A phenomenon on YouTube called ASMR Girlfriend, where content makers roleplay various scenarios, has become the new craze.

A search for ‘ASMR Girlfriend’ on YouTube yields more than 549 000 results, and some videos that have had more than one million views.

Ongoing research by website ASMR University about the phenomenon said that 10% out of 19 000 people surveyed so far had found ASMR sexually arousing.

People using technology as a substitute for a real relationship is not new. There are a host of mobile apps and games that simulate romantic relationships.

International website invisiblegirlfriend.com, for instance, allows people to subscribe to a chat service with a real person who will play the role of a girlfriend.

But experts told Weekend Witness that taking to technology to cure loneliness does not work in the long term.

Psychologist Kevin Fourie said the phenomenon could be a result of greater degrees of alienation in society today.

“There’s been quite a lot of concern recently about alienation. People aren’t as socially involved as they used to be. Because of that, people are increasingly distant from each other and that leads to social phobia.

“So involving yourself with an app or something like that can help you avoid the fear of rejection.”

He said: “Over time, it will increase feelings of alienation and loneliness as it is not a real interaction. Even though it may be ‘safer’, in the long term it is not satisfying.

“Our primal human needs are approval and love — you won’t get that from an app.”

Clinical sexologist Marlene Wasserman said ASMR Girlfriend videos were essentially webcam porn under “the guise of some scientific sounding name”.

“I watched a number of videos and was left feeling creeped out, uncomfortable in the extreme, even disturbed.

“This [ASMR videos] falls into the category of real life connection — real people creating real connections that make you feel special or cared for.”

Fourie said people who have taken to using technology to cure loneliness should confront their underlying fears and anxieties about potential rejection.

“The issue is what people think of us and the reality is that this is not really relevant.

“Only the opinions of those who are important to us matter.”

Simulating sensations

Autonomous sensory meridian response – or ASMR – is the tingly or relaxing sensation which is stimulated by certain sounds like whispering.

ASMR content on the internet can range from videos or sound clips of people making satisfying noises using methods like brushing the microphone with a make-up brush. People use these for relaxation, to concentrate while studying and to try to fall asleep.

So popular is the practice, that some YouTube channels that make these videos have as many as 800 000 subscribers.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  cyber lovers

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

Partner Content
What all investors should know about index investing

Index-linked investments are growing fast in popularity globally, and are growing in size and complexity too.

/World
 

For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.

 
 

Paws

Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.