Dating in Decline Among Young Adults
Dating in Decline Among Young Adults
  • Reporter Park So-mang
  • 승인 2023.05.19 09:53
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▲EXchange 2 / Tving
EXchange 2 / Tving

 EXchange 2 was one of the most popular TV series in 2022. EXchange 2 is a TV show where five ex-couples live in a house while keeping their past relationships secret. According to GOODDATA Corp, EXchange 2 ranked first on the issue power of Korean TV-Over The Top (OTT) content for three consecutive weeks. Also, many users subscribed to Tving, an OTT service, to watch the series. Yet, EXchange 2 was not the only dating TV show. There were more than 20 dating reality shows broadcast in 2022. 
 Paradoxically, in the survey by the Korea Population and Health Welfare Association (KoPHWA) in 2022, 65.5% of young people from ages 19 to 34 responded they are not dating. Among these respondents, 70.4% said they are voluntarily not in a relationship. Accordingly, the ratio of dating among single men and women is consistently decreasing.
 Meanwhile, another interesting trend is that the market size of dating apps is increasing, and the main consumers are young people in their 20s to 30s. There are more than 200 dating apps in Korea, and experts anticipate the market to double in size every two years. 
 However, just like the paradox of trending dating TV shows, increasing dating app users is not a positive phenomenon for actual dating and marriage. Although more people are downloading dating apps and using more money, that does not mean they are finding a relationship. “Those using dating apps for casual sex said they would rarely use it to find a relationship,” wrote Eleanor Halls in her article, “This is what the sex lives of gen z-ers are actually like.”
 Scott Galloway, a Professor at New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business, suggests a theory explaining why dating apps make dating and marriage harder. Galloway says there are three ways to appeal to the opposite sex: appearance/wealth, intelligence, and kindness. Nevertheless, it is difficult to show intelligence and kindness on a dating app. So, the only method left to appeal is appearance and wealth. As a result, people who are rich and physically attractive get all the attention. Galloway analyzes the inequality of dating in dating apps as a negative social phenomenon, like people with a Porsche having multiple spouses. He calls it “Porsche Polygamy.”
 Analyzing the trends of dating TV shows and dating apps among young people, dating in the younger population has been largely replaced by technology. People watch other people in love to gain vicarious pleasure. Watching others date reduces the risk of human interaction but satisfies the desire for a relationship just enough not to engage in one. On top of that, people in the media have the tendency to thoughtlessly scroll down and gawk at other users. Most users are not up to finding a relationship but to meet their sexual desires.
 Yet maybe technology is not what hinders the relationship among young people. Instead, they may have turned to technology because of some factors in society that make it hard for them to have a relationship. In fact, many people who chose not to have a relationship said they felt a relationship or marriage hinders their life. The problem is complex, so there are multiple factors such as social norms on marriage, high house prices, poor welfare, and others.
To borrow some words from a documentary from KBS, “Love is a very personal thing, but the increasing number of young people who are not dating is no longer personal.” Now, it is necessary for us to seriously think about relationships among the young generation.