A Filipino politician wants to make ghosting a criminal offense

A lawmaker wants to punish people for abruptly cutting off communication with someone without explaining why. Arnolfo Teves Jr., Member of the Philippine House of Representatives, Accompanying his bill that ghosting “may be likened to a form of emotional cruelty and should be punished as an emotional offence”.

Teves pointed to studies showing that social rejection activates the same neural pathways as physical pain. He argued that “ghosting is a form of malice that induces feelings of rejection and neglect,” and claimed the emotional toll can hamper productivity. The bill doesn’t provide specific penalties, but Teves suggested community service would be appropriate.

The proposed law doesn’t make much sense. It defines ghosting as something that happens when a person is “engaged in a dating relationship.” The document defines a dating relationship as one in which the parties live together without being married or “romantically linked over time and enduring.” Teves claimed that neither casual acquaintances nor “ordinary socializations” constitute a dating relationship. If you’re being ghosted by someone with whom you have more than a casual relationship (especially a significant other!), then there are bigger issues to worry about.

Importantly, the bill doesn’t account for blocking someone without explanation if they’re creepy or threatening. As notes that the bill is unlikely to pass as is. The legislature probably has more pressing concerns anyway.

The law provides that ghosting “is done for no apparent reason, but only to cause emotional distress to the victim.” That’s not really the case. People are busy! They don’t always have time to chat with everyone who texts them on a dating app. Also, people often feel like they are having open and honest conversations. Maybe the Ghoster just finds you boring and wants to disappoint you relatively gently.

Becoming a ghost sucks. But expecting someone you don’t really know to keep chatting with you isn’t smart. The suggestion of punishing people for ghosting after getting burned too many times instead of going to therapy is probably not the answer either.

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https://www.engadget.com/ghosting-criminal-offense-philippines-bill-154530749.html?src=rss A Filipino politician wants to make ghosting a criminal offense

Russell Falcon

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