‘Strangers’ On The Internet
I’ve been thinking recently about how well we know people on the internet. When I started using the internet (I think I was 13, my family were a bit late to the party haha) I always thought “of course I’m never going to speak to people on the internet, they’re all strangers and have the potential to be serial killers.” Now however I, like many others I think, feel a bit differently. There are so many ways to meet people on the internet through blogging, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and a bit more recently ‘dating’ apps such as Tinder which allow you to speak to and form relationships with people you don’t know. Sometimes I have to remind myself that there are people on the internet who don’t have good intentions, because I feel like the element of danger or the unknown has been taken out of online relationships and interactions. In recent years it’s become more normalised. I’m a very trusting, and sometimes naïve person, and it sometimes doesn’t even occur to me that someone would want to go on the internet and be untruthful, because it’s something I’d see no point in doing. It’s only when I then turn on the TV and watch Catfish that I realise that there must be an awful lot of people online lying. How many completely happy endings are there on that show with absolutely no lies, deceit or manipulation? Exactly.
I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way; plenty meet in real life with people they’ve met on the internet through chat rooms, apps like Tinder or dating sites, without completely knowing for certain that they’ll be confronted with the face they’ve seen on their laptop screen.
I feel like I’ve been a bit doom and gloom, and it is important you know that I realise not all online relationships play out this way. There are happy Catfish endings, and thousands, I don’t know even millions of people make strong connections online which lead to real life and no one dies, no one gets murdered, no one gets kidnapped. And of course you can sometimes be more sure of who you’re getting to know online through webcam, and Skype. It’s great that through the internet we can now meet people from all over the world who we would never have spoken to otherwise. People make life long friends, and even partners through the internet. I’m not saying I would never consider doing this in the future, but I still think it’s strange at times that when we live in a world where, seemingly, so many bad things are happening all the time, we a lot of the time have few problems with meeting up with people they’ve never met in real life.