Saudi Arabia ranks highest in the world in terms of its population’s dependence on technology and the Internet. It is the first in the world in terms of Twitter and Youtube usage. Today, more than 67% of its population over the age of 16 has smartphones, and most of these have active accounts on social media platforms and chatting applications.
The phenomenon of communication in its modern definition has become clearer than the sun. Wherever you turn, in malls, in restaurants, in cars, you see faces staring at the small screens. Fingers flicking and browsing, mouths talking and smiling, a device that has become an integral part of Saudis’ lives. Popular applications add addiction to addiction, from WhatsApp and Facebook to Skype and Snapchat. They are all entertaining, fun and easy to use, and they all now allow voice calls over the Internet.
Among the users, those wishing to marry. Men and women exchange numbers in the supermarket, in the restaurant, in malls, turn on the Bluetooth to detect interested men or women on Tahlia Street… and many other scenarios, indicating the desperate need of young men for means of dating for the purpose of marriage.
It is an aspect of technology that challenges our customs and traditions. But it has become part of our reality.
The big problem with these conversations is that they sometimes end in harassment that is impossible to curb. An admirer rushing in the chat and talking a lot, forcefully sending pictures or voice messages. They might use bad words. It causes inconvenience and disturbance to the other party, especially if the latter did not disclose his number in the first place. How do you put an end to it? How do you report such issues? Is it enough to block their number? Can’t they call from another number? Or use fake accounts on Facebook or Snapchat to get on with the stalking?
It is not surprising that imported social applications fail to preserve our values and traditions. In the end, they are Western applications, designed primarily for the West, and do not compete with applications designed in the Kingdom, specifically for the Kingdom’s youth. Applications that respect privacy and limit chatting within the framework of serious acquaintance with the aim of the declared legitimate marriage.
The solution is in AlKhattaba!