Romantic relationships have traditionally involved deceptive elements; these are supposed to increase the romantic attraction and decrease the risk of ending the relationship. The internet provides more ways to improve deception. The more voluntary nature of online self-presentation involves the risk of being more susceptible to manipulation; in such a controlled exhibition, there is plenty of room for deception, misrepresentation and even infidelity. As one woman commented, “It’s harder to lie when you live three blocks away.
What do People Lie About Online?
People in cyberspace are often dishonest about their identifying characteristics, such as age, race, height, weight, sex or employment. With respect to interests and backgrounds, there are no significant differences between online and offline relationships. In the latter case, false claims about age and external appearance are difficult to detect; false claims concerning interests, profession, education and other basic features are easier to refute, as these questions become the subject of conversations between the two online partners. Indeed, a man and his colleagues found that in a survey, 48% of users said they had changed their age “occasionally” and 23% said they had done “often”. In addition, 38% changed race online and 5% were allowed to change their sex from time to time. In offline and online relationships, when the level of engagement is high, misrepresentations are low.
Talk about disturbing. You never know who you are talking to out there.