The cost of 'dating'

The cost of 'dating'

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Compensated dating may seem like a quick way to earn money, but teens who take part risk their health and safety

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Homentin Gvt Secondary School
Christine Hung, Winnie Lo, Christy Chan, Tiffany Chan, Ulrich Wong and Matthew Ng, Homantin Government Secondary School

Compensated dating has been in the news a lot over the last year. It refers to when men pay girls to be their girlfriend for a couple of hours, and it seems to be very common.

Of the 125 students aged 12 to 20 questioned at Homantin Government Secondary School, 60 per cent said they thought compensated dating was a 'common phenomenon' in Hong Kong.

Eight per cent of respondents thought compensated dating is generally accepted by society, and about six per cent said they might consider participating to make money to satisfy their materialistic desires.

According to Clement Hau Kong-kin, a school social worker from International Social Service (Hong Kong Branch), money is just one of the reasons teenagers take part in compensated dating.

'To a large extent, juveniles see compensated dating as one of the ways to earn pocket money to buy things such as brand-name products,' he says.

'However, this is not the only reason teens get involved. Some of them believe compensated dating is a way for them to find someone who can make them feel loved. [Others] may even see it as an easy way to earn quick money to buy drugs,' Hau adds.

Drug addiction is a problem associated with compensated dating. According to legislator Peter Cheung Kwok-che in his Letter to Hong Kong on RTHK, many girls have 'bad feelings' after a compensated date and take drugs to feel better.

'It's a vicious circle,' he said.

'Teenagers become addicted to the drugs and need [to do more compensated dating] to buy more drugs.'

Ho Au Pui-kuen, principal of Homantin Government Secondary School, says many young people do foolish things to earn some quick money without thinking about the consequences and possible risks.

'They only want the reward, but they don't want to work for it. So they go into compensated dating. Schools can stop this trend from worsening by educating the young girls.'

Ho also says schools are responsible for teaching students the value of love and money, which would help discourage teens from taking part in compensated dating.

Girls involved in compensated dating are also jeopardising their health and safety. The vicious murder of compensated-dating girl Kiki Wong Ka-mui is a reminder of how dangerous it can be.

There have been cases of assault, and the girls may contract diseases. Some may even develop psychological problems.

'I'm afraid of being attached, being embraced, being loved, as well as loving others,' says Nakayama Miri, a girl who participated in compensated dating and wrote about it in The Diary of My Sixteen-Year-Old Compensated Dating.

'Money made from compensated dating goes quickly and easily,' she adds.

'But what's lost during that time will never be found again.'

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