Virtual games targeting single females lead to difficult reality
Published: Jan 28, 2018 07:03 PM

Illustrations: Chen Xia/GT

I always feel happy when working with the millennials in my company, as they can keep me updated about all the latest trends. Born in the 1970s, I'm among the minority generation at my office; I have learned much from these youngsters, though occasionally I like to pass on to them my own middle-age wisdom about life, careers and relationships.

Their recent addiction to virtual boyfriends on popular mobile game app Love and Producer has caused me much concern, as it is eroding the precious harmony we have built up in our office over the years. One colleague recently confided in me that "I'm so addicted [to Love and Producer] that now the first thing I do every morning, as well as the last thing every night, is play the game on my mobile."

I agree with them when they say that "these games are especially attractive to single women in their late-20s, whose lives are filled with tiring jobs, boring weekends and blind dates arranged by their parents." That's the reality of their generation. Modern Chinese society discriminates against women in a variety of way, but I never imagined that one must get married just to make their life complete. Only when one plus one equals more than two does the math add up.

But as I myself am a married mother of a teenage girl, I truly dislike seeing other mothers my age pushing single Chinese women into loveless relationships just for their own sense of social security. Match-made marriages based on materialism are the opposite of what we should be encouraging for today's generation. And even more important, we shouldn't be matchmaking in the first place, as modern women should have the right to choose their own lifestyle, including staying single or "left over."

But I personally draw the line when it comes to becoming infatuated with virtual boyfriends. When I hear one of my single female co-workers say VR (virtual reality) "allows me to see them [their VR boyfriends] as if they were really in my empty, cold bed with me," I want to pat them on their face and shout, "Hey, girls, there's nothing real about virtual reality!"

Reading between the lines, I can see that, actually, these girls long for a considerate, affectionate male partner who will pay attention to them and at the same time can meet their strict requirements when it comes to background, career and income. But it's impossible to find such a person if you spend your every waking moment playing silly computer games. All that Love and Producer does is provide a dream partner for lonely women to fantasize about. But if you want to meet a real man, you have to put your damn phone down, enter reality and seek out Mr Right yourself.

The more a person hides behind a mobile screen just to avoid reality, the more unsatisfied she will become with life and herself. She will quickly find it hard to adapt with her surroundings or get along with others. Spoiled by her virtual boyfriends (whom she pays money to just to please her), she will become selfish and unwilling to compromise in real-world settings. The unrealistic responses she receives online will make her utterly dissatisfied with the real responses she receives from her friends and co-workers.

And one day, when she does finally start dating someone, she will compare that person to the characters in her game. Nothing but disappointment awaits; her relationship will end badly and she will go back to the comforting virtual reality on her phone - what a vicious circle!

Women today are struggling for a better life, but they should remain grounded and down-to-earth about their expectations. They should also be willing to confront all the pressures and challenges which await them in reality. Yes, games and apps offer a sort of "secret garden" that helps let out all their negative emotions, but outside this garden, the battlefield of life still exists. Virtual havens can be a temporary spiritual shelter for youngsters who are not yet ready to face the real world, but I fear my young colleagues will never mature as people unless they put down their phones and start exposing themselves to life's many hardships.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.