After my recent post Manners, Pen Pals...and Internet Friends I have been inundated with emails from people with similar stories about negative internet influences on their personal lives with devastatingly painful effects. Partners, be they personal or professional, deceiving, through a virtual life.
I have explored with a psychologist how such duplicity can exist in otherwise quite reasonable people. The condition is referred to as “internet psychosis”, brought on by the self absorbed behaviour in those who live, via the writing of blogs and chat forums, in a virtual reality. They are able to reinvent themselves to a certain extent. And with blog writers, the quality of the written word, true or not, becomes paramount, and in the most severe cases, becomes delusional. It is increasingly becoming a psychosis seen by mental health professionals.
Any breakup is painful. But when the internet is involved, a new paradigm of manners is raised. How much deceit is possible virtually and when do you admit the truth? Should one read their partner’s emails, and iPad history, when they are being sent, clandestinely, from their shared computers? And as one reader asked , when does the accessing of SMS on a partner’s telephone become OK?
Where do the manners of the traditional face to face relationship stand when clashed by the subterfuge of the internet and virtual relationships?
I am regularly asked if manners and etiquette are old fashioned? No, from my perspective they are evolving daily, and a standard for the code of behaviour for this new age is still developing.