37. Changes of Interactions in Everyday Lives Increases Relationships Built Online

The desire to build relationships online versus face-to-face is positively related to individual financial hardship and an individual’s willingness to engage in infidelity or unprotected sex.

Results from the Harris and Aboujaoude study, “Online Friendship, Romance, and sex: Properties and Associations of the Online Relationship Initiation Scale”, states that based on their study people who struggle within their everyday lives find that online technologies influence their personal lives and in some ways make it better. Online dating has become another sector of developing interpersonal skills thus changing how people interact with each other.

More than ⅓ of US marriages now originate from online dating. People are now finding that it's easier to communicate online, possibly because it eliminates some of the effort and potential awkwardness. Today's generation are more accepting of building relationships online, making online relationships almost normalized.

Today's advances of technologies have influenced initiation of interpersonal relationships from face-to-face to online due to behind the screen comfortability. 

Technology has been a huge influence on how society now interacts with each other. Communication is becoming more virtual with the use of text messaging and social media. Studies suggest that users prefer online technologies as a form of communication instead of online because of it's convenience.

The ability to separate our everyday lives with our internet activity creates space for online relationship building

Today’s age allows us to build a life apart from our own via the internet. Online sources have become the go-to space for building relationships and also rekindling old friendships as well. We are in a time where social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow us to stay connected and present ourselves as we please.

The sites recognized within the survey were not online dating sites but sites like Facebook because that is what's popular and universal. 713 users self-reported their desire and comfortability with initiating relationships online versus in person (results shown on the right).

The study addresses the concept of online relationship initiation being used as a support system or distraction for users who are experiencing distress in their every day lives. The Pew Research Center has published many articles on their research focused on the relationship between social media use and psychological problems. Psychological problems can range anywhere from depression to financial distress. The idea is that technology and the connections that are made online are able to reduce stress, especially for women. Since social media has provided opportunities to carry on separate lives, the virtual life carried on can be seen as a conflict for users who are in real relationships and marriages.

Sexual preferences such as willingness to participate in unprotected sex or infidelity are associated with higher levels of online relationship initiation.

The results of the study indicated that men were more likely to participate in unprotected sex or infidelity and more likely to attempt to initiate relationships online. Women on the other-hand were more likely to form relationships without actually attempting to find new relationships.

In the past, infidelity was not related to how society chooses to communicate via technology. But, the advances in social media allow users to initiate relationships without feelings of guilt. A lot of this could be a result of what the American Psychological Association calls, lack of recognition for emotional infidelity. The details discussed in this article was based on a study done in Australia in 2008, where out of 138 adults in relationships, 10% admitted to initiating online relationships outside of their partnership.

Online interactions are not impacted by the personality characteristics of the user and how they choose to interact with other users virtually

 The research suggest that online relationship initiation is not correlated with personality types. This means that users who's personality influences certain behaviors do not contribute to how they form relationships in person or online. We would assume that those who are introverted and have more secluded personalities would be more likely to find comfort through online sources or users who are more extroverted would take more risks when initiating relationships.

The survey conducted asked participants 9 questions rating their interactions online. In actuality, the scores received from this survey show that there is a negative association with users perceived personalities and how they interact or initiate relationships online.

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