Lonely hearts & IT professionals can now take refuge in Virtual Girlfriends
This seems straight out of a page from the guide book for the broken or lone hearts. From mobile applications to online sites, various tools are now giving lonely men a chance to have that 'girlfriend experience', albeit virtually. The latest is a site where one can purchase a make-believe online girlfriend, who will post messages on one's networking site, giving people the impression that one is in a long-distance relationship.
Not too long ago, software engineers in South Korea had fallen for a particular phone application, which would call them at late hours during work to give them the comfort that a woman cared for them. With greater work pressures and longer work hours, a lot of single men seem to have sought refuge through these applications when it comes to their need to feel wanted and loved.
Amit Naidu, a software professional, has tried out one such application, where he used to get periodic 'love' messages from a woman's profile. "This is quite nice, especially when you're stuck at work till late." A message that says someone cares for you, even if the person doesn't exist, can act as a motivator and help you get through that long night," he says.
And it isn't just the working professionals who are falling prey to these 'virtual girlfriend' apps. A lot of college students, with smartphones at their disposal, too seem to have taken fancy to them. "I recently downloaded this application, where I could customise a girlfriend avatar and have her talk to me. It's cool, since my engineering college pressures don't give me the time to have a real relationship," says Ankit Sharma, third-year engineering student.
While there seem to be ready takers for such applications, psychologists and social experts don't seem to approve of such tools. "While this may seem like any one of those games that one downloads on one's computer or phone, it can have adverse affects. Technology can limit one's social skills, which already seems to be the case. And applications like these cause further decline," says Sandhya K, psychologist, adding that one should go out and meet people instead.
"This sounds like a good idea at first, but it is also a tell-tale sign that people of our generation need help. By downloading these applications or logging on to these sites, one may find immediate gratification for their need to be loved, but this is just a temporary sign. With the increase in the number of applications, it only shows that technology is going to usurp a lot of basic human emotions, which is worrying," says Ranjini Rathnam, professor, sociology.