This essay will discuss the advantages and drawbacks f Internet on the area of intimacy, friendship, romantic relationship, fulfilment of sexual need and user’s psychological well-being respectively. Intimacy Online relationships have proved to strengthen the intimacy between partners, however the level of intimacy is still lower than offline relationship (Scott, Mottarella & Lavooy, 2006).
A possible explanation Is drawn from Anderson and Emmers- Sommers (2006) research, explaining that intimacy between online partners is positively associated with time spent on online communication. In the research done by Scott and at el, they did not measure the time that the participant spent on omputer-mediated communication. It is possible that those participants do not spent great time on online communication, hence leading to the relative lower level of intimacy. Moreover, the purpose of online communication influences the level of intimacy perceived.
People who use online communication for the purpose of self- fulfilment feel closer to their online partners, value more of their online relationship and become more satisfied with their relationship compare to people whose purpose of using the Internet is for interpersonal involvement (i. e. making new friend) Pornsakulvanich, Haridakis and Rubin, 2008). This reconfirms Valkenburg and Peter’s (2009) argument that not using Internet as an alternative way of face-to-face communication Increase perceived Intimacy, and benefit the process of building a new relationship.
Furthermore, different expectation and motivation contribute to the different level of intimacy in online relationship. People who are struggle with traditional communication or feel lonely tend to use the Internet for the sole purpose of interpersonal involvement, and are more likely to consider Internet as an lternative of face-to-face communication (Valkenburg& Peter, 2009). As a result, they may expect too much from the relationship, which may be harder to meet the desired high expectation, this may then result in a lesser intimated and satisfied relationship.
Friendship However, the establishment of new relationships may be at the expense of existing relationship for high social anxiety or introverted people as they spend more time on making new friend, less time on maintaining existing friendships. The Internet-enhanced self-disclosure hypothesis (Valkenburg & Peter, 2009) points ut that the lack of physical cues may create embrace in face-to-face communication encourage more self-disclosure, and then relationship quality is enhanced by online communication.
But only people with low social anxiety would gain the full benefit of online communication. This hypothesis is reconfirmed by Tian’s online survey (2013) that details the relationship between blog and friendship and research done by Mitchell, Lebow, Uribe, Grathouse and Shoger (2011). Tian found that higher anxious participants use blogs to establish new friendships more frequently, and tend to undesired the use of blogs with existing friends.
Due to the higher level of self-disclosure online, the quality of new friendship is improved, but the quality of existing relationship does not seem improve as less time is used to communicate with existing friends. However, people with low social anxiety tend to use blogs to communicate with both existed and new friends, both of new and existed friendship quality is improved through blogs. Mitchell and et al (2011) observed that more introverted people tend to use the internet mainly for entertainment and not as much for maintaining relationships.
These findings eappeal that personality will influence the type of technology used and the purpose of using it, as a result create different level of influence on relationship. Romance According to Cornwell and Lundgreh (2001), people who establish relationships online are less seriously committed to their partner and lie more about age and physical characteristics. Although online partners may commit to each other lower than real-space partner, they still think and feel the same level of satisfaction and value the online relationship. This finding is extended by Anderson and Emmers- Sommer (2006).
They found that most relationship predictors are the same regardless of the way the relationship was built, and the more time partners spent on online communication, the higher the communication satisfaction because of that commitment, intimacy, trust perceived attitude similarity are positive related to communication time. However, since online communication does not involve cues such as physical attractiveness that could interrupt communication, partners are able to edit their response to display their desired cue – lie to their online partner. Cornwell ,2001). When online relationship move to offline relationship, he lays like physical appearance and age are easily found out by partner, therefore the perceived intimacy is lower than partner who first meets each other in reality (Scott, Mottarella & Lavooy, 2011). As discussed above, the use of the internet provides an opportunity for people to relationship as the relationship satisfaction factors and potential growth of relationship are the same regardless the way relationship is established.
The more the time on online communication by partners, the stronger the positive influence of these factors on relationship satisfaction, and the closer the relationship is. But due to facts that partners may tell lies about certain aspects, it is hard to access the same level of intimacy when online relationship moves to offline. Sexual need fulfilment Online sexual activities (OSA) increases the user’s real time sexual behaviour with their existing partner, and even form a new real time sexual relationship with partner met on OSA.
However, for some problematic use of OSA, the negative consequence come out, as these users will engage in OSA at the expense of their existed relationship and may be addicted; hence further damage their relationship if the nacceptable behaviour is found out by their existed partner. According to the online survey done by Cooper, Nathan and Michael (2004), OSA has different impacts on an user’s real life relationship that is caused by distinct purposes of OSA.
For the goal of sexual education and merely find a sexual partner, online sexual activities increase men’s sexual activity and new sexual behaviour in real time. The involved partner could be the existed committed partners or new partner, especially for men whose main objective of OSA is to find a sexual partner are more likely to move this online sexual relationship to offline. Conversely, men who undertake OSA for the aim of reducing stress, problems in their real time relationship will come after.
They are more likely to suffer great negative influence of OSA on their online relationship, for example, their partners may complain more because their partners could feel be distanced if OSA is unacceptable behaviour. However, the influence of OSA on women’s real life behaviour and relationship may differ to these findings because the focus of the research is men. Another problems of OAS is the high potential of be addicted which may also damage an existing relationship. Due to the nature of less control on the internet content, users may lose their self-control on this behaviour.
Their partner will feel be lied or betrayed after they found out the users’ online sexual behaviour, and their self- esteem will be hurt (Schneider, 2000). Psychological well-being Since internet could used to improve existed relationship quality; it should improve an user’s well-being. (Valkenburg & Peter, 2009). However, when the user uses the internet in some problematic way, some negative consequences will be suffered by the user. For instance, gaming has a negative relationship with perceived social upport and happiness (Mitchell, and et al, 2011).
More serious consequence of problematic use of internet is internet addiction damage user’s well-being as strong and loneliness (Chen, 2012). In a word the influence of internet on user’s well-being is largely depends on the objective of using internet. Conclusion Following the above discussion based on reviewing previous articles, it is evidence that internet facilitates the formation of new relationship, maintain existed relationship and improve quality of existed relationship.
Relationship intimacy does xist in online relationship and since the major influential factors are the same, online relationship has the same potential to grow. Therefore it is worthwhile to spend time on internet to enhance relationship quality and improve user’s well-being as a result. The downsides of internet on relationship are varied and rely on the purpose and expectation of using internet, which are influenced by user’s personality.
A typical personality that would suffer the detrimental outcome of using internet is people who is struggling with face-to-face communication and self-control, or facing too much stress. They tend to use internet for interpersonal involvement purpose and expect to make many new friends online. However, the new relationship built may be at the expense of existed relationship because less contact with the existing partner may make them feel being distanced or betrayed, and due to the expectation and purpose, the level of perceived satisfaction is not very high.