www.whyville.net Jul 7, 2013 Weekly Issue

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All in Your Head

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We all know that people often do and say things in 'cyberspace' that they wouldn't normally do or say in 'real life'. They begin to express themselves in a more casual and relaxed manner. Researchers call this the "disinhibition effect".

As we explore the Internet, most people you see are unable to easily identify you. There are some tech savvy people who may be able to find out things like your e-mail or IP (internet protocol address), but mostly people will only ever know what you tell them yourself. You can become completely anonymous if you wished, or even lie and pretend to be someone you are not. When people have the chance to divide their doings from their true identity, they feel less vulnerable about divulging personal information. Some people might brainwash themselves into believing that the way they are behaving "isn't even me". This psychology is called "dissociation".

In quite a few online places other people can't directly see you. You can become completely unknown to everyone around you. However this could become a bad thing, such as giving you to the courage to do things you otherwise wouldn't. This goes along with the disinhibition, you are anonymous to those around you. Even if you tell everyone about you, they still can't see or hear you. Even with the your identity visible, you are physically "invisible".

Text communication can have a curious effect on people. They may feel that their mind has "merged" with the mind of that of an online companion. It's possible that when reading another's message, you may interject your own voice (or create one) to read that message, or even assign a visual image of what we think that person looks like. As the person becomes more "real" within your mind, you may think, (maybe without even realizing it) that the text conversation is all taking place inside your head, as if you are talking to yourself. The text communication is merely a bridge between our imagination and reality. One should be careful, when talking to yourself you are willing to say things you wouldn't ever say to others!

In short, you should protect your online identity - be who you are, don't let the Internet change you to become something you aren't.

Author's Note: http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html


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