©2008 J Picken
It’s a known fact ,that when online some people change and not always for the best. There are articles written about the psychology of cyberspace. Author Suler, J. (2004). CyberPsychology and Behavior, 7, 321-326, outlines several behavioural issues that some people indulge in whilst online. In general, people feel less inhibited online and are more then willing to open up and perhaps display their true nature. For now we’ll focus on the more negative aspects, which include:
- Dissociative anonymity or just plain “ well you don’t know me so I can tell you whatever I want, be who ever I chose to be”. Yes well talk about taking liberties, not everyone online are idiots.
- In visability or “Hey you can’t see me so I can type whatever I want and you’ll never know what I am really thinking.” Well true to some degree, but guess what? Words and how they are used can disclose much.
- Asychronicity or “I don’t have to deal with that person, issue or discussion now it’s only the internet”. So not dealing with others in “real time” permits running away because the internet provides a great big space. Hello…ever heard of the old line “You can run but you can’t hide?”. Running may work on line for a while, but eventually that even catches up.
- Solipsistic introjection or “ Lets make these people I type to online what I want them to be” hmmm…so the illusion begins, now there is the non-reality factor creeping in. Some people cannot see the tree for the forest. Wonderful apparatus, the mind, it can create all types of illusions, even about people online.
- Dissociative imagination , oh now this is really fun, now we combine solipisistic introjection with the creation of an imaginary dimension that all our online buddies inhabit. How cool! Our very own dimension!
In my opinion, all these aspects are ego based and provide valuable insight into ones psychological well being. Makes me wonder just how many people are not only wandering around in society with undiagnosed mental health issues, but also the number that flow over into cyberspace. Is it so difficult to conceive that there are living breathing people behind the typing , emails and messages? Now wouldn’t it be interesting just for a moment to get into the headspace of someone with the negative aspects outlined above. Couldn’t you just make someone elses life a living nightmare? Most definitely, all those aspects are rather obsessive, possessive and manipulative and you know what they say…”one thing leads to another”.