It’s 2017, and meeting someone online is about as routine as getting a cup of coffee in the morning. A study from Pew Research Center found that since 2013, use of dating sites and apps has tripled among young adults, proving that the taboos once attached to online dating are a thing of the past.
But lest high schoolers approach setting up dates with complete strangers too casually, one terrifying ad is reminding everyone of the risks. First spotted by CNET, the ad, which originally aired in Mexico and has racked up over 1.5 million views on YouTube, is surprisingly sponsored by Movistar, a telecommunications company.
“Love Story” is no “can you hear me now?” spot. Nor is it a take on the T-Swift classic. It’s a "meet-cute" that no one — especially not a child — should have to experience.
The ad starts off innocently enough. A teenage girl and boy start chatting, presumably through a dating app, though the app remains unnamed. As they share pics with each other — she’s wearing PJs in bed, he lifts up his shirt — each grows increasingly excited about their newfound romance. The girl, Mia, finally musters up the courage to ask the boy out. He says yes and they decide on a place. He tells her he’ll come in black. She says she’ll show up in pink.
Not one, but two disturbing twists occur at the end of the ad, each underlining the risks that come with chatting online. As CNET points out, some teens would FaceTime or Skype before meeting in person. But given how common meeting online has become, you can’t expect that someone would see that as a necessity.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t swipe to your heart’s content. But the ad, which ends with a cautionary statement, has a point. Just because online dating can be great doesn't mean it can't be dangerous — so be careful.