Boys and girls are more often in love via Internet

Bashfulness is an important factor, but among the young adolescents

By Danijel Frfalanović
As a result of spending the most of the time in front of a computer, but also because of the bashfulness in meeting people in person, the young net generations, more and more youngsters are get into online relationships. Almost a third of the boys and one fifth of the girls from Nis have or had this kind of relationships.
This is the results of the research that among the young people from Nis was conducted by Jelena Opsenica Kostić, a PhD of Phsycology from the Faculty of Philosophy from Nis.
She concluded that the emotional online relationships had 33,8% young boys and 19% young girls at the age between 14 and 18, while the percentage of online relationships among young people aged 18 to 23 is quite smaller or 21,7% among the young males and 15,2% young females.
It is correct that the Internet generations spend more and more of their free time on Internet, but the global network is not the only culprit for the online dating.
-There are many reasons for getting into this kind of relationships. For some young people, especially aged in 14 to 18, quriosity plays a great deal. Love relationships for them is a new experience and the Internet provides a certain annonimity and along with that, provides some safety in testing the new terrain, explains Opsenica Kostić.
But, this research shows that the main factors for this outbreak are bashfulness and easy „opening” in the cyberspace.
-Bashfulness is an important factor, but among the young adolescents. This phenomenon supports the idea that in literature is known as a hypothesis of social compensation, which means that all those people who have difficulties in making contacts offline are significantly reduced in their online environment. For instance, if the adolescent is insecure and shy because of the odds and material things that are possessing, it won’t be an obstacle for establishing the online relationships, because it can’t be seen, emphasizes Opsenica Kostić.
The adolescents aged from 18 to 23 rarely establish the online relationships compared to the young people aged from 14 to 18. But, it is hard to explain why is that.
-The most probable assumption is that an online relationship partly represents an exercise for engaging the „offline” love relationship, as well as for overcoming the bashfulness, typical for the adolescent period. This way of motivated online relationship will not repeat in older years and probably the number of this way of getting into relationships will decrease, assumes Opsenica Kostić.
The online relationships bring responsibility, too. Similar to ordinary love relationships, the online ones have responsibilities, fierce and expectations.
As an advantage of this kind of relationships, the girls are point out the possibility for relaxed and an open communication, the boys are pointing out the fun and the possibility to speak about their problems, which is, according to our interviewee, confirms the idea about the cyber space is seen as a big playground.
The downsides of these relationships, according to young people is uncertainty of the identity of the other person and possibility of lying, as well as the impossibility of the personal encounter. There are people that don’t belive in the cyber relationships and thing that the whole thing is meaningless.
-From psychological point of view, the positive effects are associated to disinhibition in expression of their own thoughts and feelings. That situation is tied with a phenomenon that is called as the presentation of themselves. And in that online environment, in this case an online relationship is an opportunity a person to discover something that is hard to discover in the so called offline relationships, explains Opsenica Kostić.
The questionnaire of this research has a question about the cyber sex as well. Only older adolescents were asked this quetsion, but the results are not published because only three girls answered positively. There were 291 people in the research, from which 146 were at the age from 14 to 18 and 145 of them were from the age from 18 to 23 years old. The goal of the research, according to the people who conducted it, was establishing the oppinion of the adolescents about the online relationships, how much widespread they are and how the young people are communicating within these relationships.
Since this research is not conducted on a larger sample, according to Opsenica Kostić, it will represent as a starting point for future researches.
-I got into a cyber relationship and I did not noticed.
Sometimes young people are get into Internet relationships spontaneously.
-I wasn’t aware that I am getting into a cyber relationship. Our correspondance lasts for three years and we have never met. We’ve talked via Skype only. There were days of all day long correspondence, so we got into a phase of knowing everything about eachother and even start feeling when someone is not feeling well..., says about her experience a 21-years old student Anđela Jovanović.
She says that people can get into conflict in the same wasy as in the regular relationship.
-The problem is that he is in an emotional relationhsip for five years, and he sometimes visits his girlfriend. He often stays at her for 10 days and we are not contacting then. When he is not available online for two days, I know that he is with his girlfriend. We had conflicts several times. Once, he was came at point to leave his girfriend, so that we can be in a relationship. Of course, I was against that because it’s not fair. Have you seen the movie Her? If so, you would know what I’m atalking about. At one point I felt like I’m in a main role, so I have decided that it’s time to set things down for a while. Now we contact rarely because I found someone myself. We talk about the problems we have with our partners, but we always end up talikng about what we feel about each other, says Anđela.
She adds that the online relationships are not naive at all because the one who gets involved in such relationship can have a huge problem, especially if there’s no chance to meet the other person or to be in a normal relationship.