We may be making big strides in the world of technology, but the question is whether it is bringing us close to people or is it taking us away from our near and dear ones? How often do we write letters, telegrams to our loved ones and wait for the postman to arrive?
With internet available to almost everyone these days, we have created a virtual space around us and we may be communicating effectively and conveniently with people who are far away, but this can even mar our real life relationships.
People come together on social networking sites (SNS), catch up with their old buddies, make new ones, chat with them become friends. With so many gadgets available in the market these days, the technology is bound to be misused. People chat for hours, discuss their intimate details with unknown strangers, which gradually becomes a habit. You even get hooked up and then addicted as well.
Gradually endless conversations, chatting, poking, commenting on pictures becomes an indelible part of your lifestyle and the medium, which was once used for keeping friendship starts taking a toll on your personal relationships.
One may not realise, but this virtual world can slip into a real one and may pose a threat to your real life relationships.
What are online affairs?
Affairs, which are nonphysical, but still have an emotional connect is called an online affair. Discussing intimate topics, which you normally do with your partner, again falls into this category. If you are hiding what you do from your partner and you know it is wrong, it is an online affair.
In online affairs too, you wait for the person to get online, spend hours chatting with him/her, get special messages, texts and pictures in your inbox, you get a sense of emotional security, safety and comfort. Moreover, there is fantasy, excitement, denial and jealousy.
What lures people into this?
It's not only reserved to chat room. It's fast, easy and discreet, instant messaging. Use of social sites to chat at workplace is common these days.
Anirudh, who works with MNC : "I cannot talk over phone to relax. At workplace, we have to work under deadlines, submit projects and there is so much pressure, hence I keep my chat open, as it is relaxing. I discuss my daily routine with online friends including other things as well."
On being asked whether his partner knows about it he said: No."Whatever I am doing is personal. She's at her workplace and I don't peep into what she does, so our privacy is maintained."
As per Dr Neelam Singh Rathee, assistant professor at the department of psychology, Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh: "In absence of no watch on you, one tends to open up even with strangers if the advances in the first instance do not appear to be putting off. One, however, doesn't realise as to how far one has gone and by the time one realises, it is too late."
Cheating on partners:
Some people keep a tab on their partners and can go to any extent by even changing gender and making fake accounts and befriending their partner, to keep a tab on their social activities. As per Neelam Singh Rathee: "Doubts and suspicion may not have any place in the initial lovey-dovey situations, but later one's indulgence and that of ones partner over a period of time begins to create apprehensions about one another. And, not only in extreme cases, but just for the heck of it too, couples start 'keeping an eye' on their respective spouses.
A feeling of being appreciated and loved, how so ever fake and temporary it might be, is an indulgence of individual's pleasure seeking self 'The Id', which keep the moral guard 'The Super Ego' at bay, when it knows that this all won't be known to others."
Phones, laptops are secured with passwords, pin numbers. Your partner might hide or delete history every time or may change web page abruptly. Even obsession to immediately reply to every comment, mail, or suddenly being too nice to you or ignoring you are basic signs, if someone is cheating.
Can this lead to addiction:
Yes. Internet is a technology catalog. You meet someone attractive online is just like you surf products online and pick what you like. People believe that they are finding true happiness through unknown people.
How to avoid misuse and stay safe:
At first, don't add anyone just to add up the number of friends in your friend list, because you don't know who is actually befriending you. Always look for mutual friends, and inquire about the one who has sent you requests. As per Neelam Rathee: "One should keep ones content (pictures, identity, personal details etc.) safe online by using strictest privacy settings."