We are all affected by online communication

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writer icon Karel Petros     ISB   |   Culture     🕐 16. May. 2018

Cyber reality is a new form of human communication, interaction and existence. Many of us are online every day. Are we changing? Are we still ourselves in cyberspace?

Communication is what develops us. In the world of new media, people can represent their own identity in any way they choose, and in this way live their own virtual life. Some people say that they are more like their true-self in cyberspace, and suggest that there is freedom to be whomever they want to be.

Physical contact
The natural course of a growing internet friendship may lead to face-to-face encounters which might otherwise never have happened. Physical contact is a basic human need. For some, the internet can be a good place to start, in order to meet someone.

Although the virtual world is sometimes a reflection of reality, it is still very different from the ordinary world. Digital-based relationships have shifted the boundaries of human interaction. Human behaviour on the Internet is a complex interaction between these features of the cyber world and the character of an individual.

There are some specific psychological properties of the online world that shape how people behave in this arena. Human behaviour on the Internet is a complex interaction between these features of cyberworld and the character of a particular person. The more truthful information that people share, the more they consolidate their relationship. They become trustworthy and genuine to others. The opposite can also be said.

Integrity of Sensory Perceptions
Sensory perceptions usually accessed when communicating face to face are somewhat limited once on the internet. Often, communication is limited to written text. This restricted sensory perception has a significant disadvantage when compared to a direct encounter between two people. Additionally, communication solely by written text gives people tremendous possibilities to play with their own identity.

Free From Inhibition
People online say and do things they would not say or do in their everyday lives. They feel more independent. They may even express themselves more freely. This phenomenon is called the disinhibition effect, and it is one of the more often seen features of online communication.

The disinhibition effect is the postponing of inhibition or absence of timidity. In some cases, it manifests through people sharing very personal things such as deep emotions, fears, or wishes. The effect also leads to online bullying and trolling.

Time to think
Compared to face-to-face communication, online communication often gives the communicators more time to think and formulate responses. The disadvantage to this is that people can be more calculated, and present a more thought-out version of themselves. Communicating in the moment leads to a more genuine exchange.

Screenshots and privacy
How an individual perceives a written message very much depends on their current state of mind when reading it. Also, people know that whatever they say can be recorded via a screenshot, and stored. This knowledge could cause anxiety, distrust and even paranoia about being online. Some people might try to be more aware of what they say, for fear of it being used against them.

Whilst humanity should not be afraid of online communication, we should be cautious and aware of the risks associated with it. This is particularly important when it comes to vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, who are at greater risk of exploitation due to their willingness to trust that people are whoever they say they are on the internet.

The bright side
Today's digital world has its bright side. It brings people of different backgrounds, geographical locations, and cultures closer together. Statistics show that individuals are increasingly informed of the events in the world today.

People may have forfeited the bonds of traditional friendship, however, network communication can help everyone in making new acquaintances. While some may be superficial, others may evolve into life-long relationships.

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