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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

Is Technology Killing Romance?

By Sarah Klein

Last year, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Sweethearts candy added a hip new phrase to their collection of message-adorned pastel sugary hearts: “Tweet me.”

A 2009 survey from the UK’s National Trust found that 69 percent of people had texted the phrase “I love you” (or one of its many abbreviated forms) to someone they cared about. But as The Telegraph reported, the survey also found that 70% of women – and over 50% of men – would prefer to get a love letter or a written poem rather than a text or email.

These days, the convenience of email, texting, and Facebook, has made hand-written notes and letters virtually obsolete. Even the traditionally strong Christmas card is feeling the pinch, with sales over the 2010 holiday period expected to be down by as much as 16 percent.

Without a doubt, the rise of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter has revolutionized the way we keep in touch. A 140-character tweet, or a wall post for the world to see, hardly seems like the most romantic way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but that’s how millions of couples will be expressing their love and devotion exactly one week from today.

Even toy company Mattel has taken to social media in the hope of reuniting one of the world’s most famous couples. After a surprise split from Barbie on Valentine’s Day 2004, Ken has been using Facebook to burnish his image, posting ideas to win her back for the approval of his 32,000-plus fans.

Although social media is increasingly used for dating, not everyone is convinced it’s a good idea. Psychologist and author Dr. Dorree Lynn told ABC News that Facebook and Twitter are actually fostering a sense of “faux intimacy” among couples. All that texting and posting doesn’t teach people how to develop genuine relationships. “You let your fingers do the walking and you can forget that you need to do the talking,” she said.

But many would argue that social media sites are perfect for today’s fast-paced world, where it’s increasingly difficult to meet people and nurture romance using traditional channels. Facebook and Twitter may not be the most poetic stages, but they can be concise, fun, and even flirty.

While there’s no substitute for face-to-face communication, what’s so bad about the occasional “I <3 U”?

Is technology killing romance, or can it help keep the spark alive? Will you be saying ‘I love you’ on Facebook? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom!

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