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Location Sharing, The Latest Neurosis Of The Gen-Z Dating World

At first, Find My iPhone was a nifty feature that would help keep your cellphone safe. Now, with new location sharing technology, the app has become a new panopticon of control for Gen-Z couples, with their every move recorded by watchful eyes, nestled away in back pockets.

Photo of a person touching a map on smartphone.

A map can be seen on a smartphone.

Simonetta Sciandivasci

TURIN — The hypersensitivity to control, a neurosis that COVID-19 initially relaxed and then intensified, is an intolerance full of inconsistencies. It's a yes disguised as a no , a somewhat psychotic hypocrisy, almost a Stendhal syndrome .

We can try to detox from the internet , smartphones, social networks, dating apps , and chats — and we already do this, to some extent, as the means become obsolete (even what doesn't die, ages: Facebook is a geriatric ward; TikTok increasingly resembles an 80's video game).

But in the midst of this intermittent fasting, we become dependent on the apps that tell us where we are and, above all, where others are, with frightening, millimetric precision. "Find My iPhone," the function introduced into our smartphones to make them traceable in case of loss, two years ago became "Find My Friend," to facilitate a new methodology of affection exchange which is becoming more and more popular, especially among adolescents: geolocation.

To give away total control

Telling each other where we are demonstrates trust and, above all, reliability: it's a preemptive certification. And it turns the control of our movements into a test, a thermometer of willingness: the more you tell me where you are, the less you have to hide. It's much more powerful than handing over your phone - remember, there was a time when, in the midst of certain marital disputes, a husband would get himself out of trouble by offering to show his entire messaging archive, so that his wife could verify that he had nothing to hide.

Now, it's about love, flirting, courtship. And a cage.

But more than erasing infidelity, geolocation serves to surrender oneself to the other, to tell them: I don't take a step without you knowing, I carry you with me, we are roommates, cohabitants on a map.

Before, geolocation was a matter of necessity: it was used exclusively to reach each other. Now, it's about love , flirting, courtship. And a cage. The New York Times wrote that some friendships are put to the test by what is becoming, in fact, a need not to meet but to monitor: a moderated, agreed-upon, consensual form of stalking , but still stalking.

If Francesca goes to the park without telling Daniela, and Daniela discovers it when she asks her to share her location, there's trouble: Daniela falls into a tragic whirlwind of jealousy, resentment and feelings of abandonment. Betrayal happens with much less than a lover: betrayal happens by not sharing the intention to go for a walk, by keeping a visit to the museum to oneself, by avoiding company. Betrayal happens in silence.

Screenshot of the app Find My Friends, allowing you to locate friends, family etc.


On the bright side...

Of course, there's also the positive side, which is quite complex as well: reassurance, above all. Parents who, in the past, when their children didn't answer the phone, resorted to more serious solutions to survive their anxiety (some: calling the police, news broadcasters, classmates, other parents, the mayor, emergency services, firefighters and so on to ask if they had seen their offspring and, if yes, where, when, with whom, wearing what) — they now have a very valuable ally.

Then, there are generous Gen Z philanthropists who connect to their friends' geolocation apps for a simple reason: seeing them move, shift, makes them happy. Elisa gets excited knowing that Olga is heading to the beach, and instead of imagining her in a car, or on a bike, or not imagining her at all, she wants to see her zoom by, in the form of a dot, a cursor, on Google Maps.

It's a joy similar to the one we feel when we look at an electrocardiogram of a loved one (or even a stranger) and understand they're alive from the signs, the impulses.

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Milei Elected: Argentina Bets It All On "Anything Is Better Than This"

The radical libertarian Javier Milei confounded the polls to decisively win the second round of Argentina's presidential elections; now he must win over a nation that has voiced its disgust with the country's brand of politics as usual.

Javier Milei at a campaign rally

Eduardo van der Kooy


BUENOS AIRES — Two very clear messages were delivered by Argentine society with its second-round election of the libertarian politician Javier Milei as its next president.

The first was to say it was putting a definitive end to the Kirchner era , which began in 2003 with the presidency of the late Néstor Kirchner and lasted, in different forms, until last night.

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The second was to choose the possibility, if nothing else, of a future that allows Argentina to emerge from its longstanding state of prostration. It's a complicated bet, because the election of the candidate of Libertad Avanza (Liberty Advances) is so radical and may entail changes to the political system so big as to defy predictions right now.

This latter is the bigger of the two key consequences of the election, but the voters turning their back on the government of Cristina and Alberto Fernández and its putative successor, (the Economy minister) Sergio Massa, also carries historical significance. They could not have said a clearer No to that entrenched political clan. So much so that they decided to trust instead a man who emerged in 2021 as a member of parliament, with a weak party structure behind him and a territorial base no bigger than three mayors in the Argentine hinterland.

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