People have been using the internet to communicate to one another for years. Not only that, but they way we communicate is evolving with the technology. It is easier and easier to talk to someone across the world today than it ever was before. Our means of meeting one another has changed drastically. The problem with this can be, how do we know the person on the other end is being truthful? I mean it’s the internet, you can say you are whoever you want to be. There have been many stories about people who have been posing as someone else on the internet, and we even have seen specials on Dateline about sexual predators all over the net. With FaceBook, Reddit, and even phone apps like Tinder, meeting strangers is almost too easy. Who do you trust if you can trust anyone? How has our “always on” society changed relationships in our life?
I’ve had Xbox Live for 8 years now. Xbox Live is the online component of the Xbox game consoles, and is a paid service you use to play multiplayer with friends and countless amounts of random people every day via the internet. One day, around 2008, I met a guy playing the game Skate 2. Fast forward years later, and I consider him to be one of my best friends. Just recently I flew out to California(where he lives) and stayed with him for a few days. Sounds pretty crazy right? I just flew out to a state that I had never been to in order to hang out with someone I had never met face to face. What may sound crazier, is it didn’t seem weird to me at all. I knew him very well even though we had never seen one another face to face. We had been “hanging out” for years on the internet. What makes a friendship like this so much different than friendships that start with face to face interactions? I play video games with most of my “real life” friends anyway, so why is one looked at as weird?
A story like this one would not have been told a few decades ago, specifically before the age of the internet. We are connecting to one another in different fashions each and every day. As mentioned before, the app Tinder has changed the way we have relationships as well. You simply see a picture of someone and swipe left if you are uninterested and right if you are interested. If they swipe right on your picture and you swipe right on theirs, you two are “matched”. From this point on, you can text one another inside the phone application and meet up with them if you want. It’s as easy as that, moving your finger from one side to the other on the phone and, after that you’re meeting a new person. With how easy it is to meet someone, you would think that you would hear about more incidents with of “catfishing“. This is when someone pretends to be someone else online in order to gain romantic relationships.
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Of course, these things do happen. I mean, according to a study done last year 1/3 of married couples met online. However, we must be careful with who we meet online and use common sense and maybe even some detective skills to find out if they are a real person or not. Even though we need to keep our eyes open, it’s important to note how much things have changed due to our “always on” society. It’s a lot more common to use the internet to meet someone and have a conversation with them before you ever see them in person.