It is, many people argue, very difficult - if not impossible - to establish a meaningful relationship with somebody you can't see face to face. It is difficult to gauge a person's emotions and feelings, and there is a high possibility of deception - people lying about who they are.
Supporters of online relationships, on the other hand, argue that not seeing the other person actually helps the relationship: you have fewer inhibitions, because you feel that the person you are speaking with doesn't have any expectations of you, and therefore it is easier to "be yourself". They also point out that online friendships are similar to penpal relationships.
In her book Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (1995), Sherry Turkle analyses this and other new phenomena in interpersonal relationships.
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