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Critical Review relating to Chapter 6 Offprint 3 Making friends in cyberspace Parks and Floyd 1996 Internet usage has greatly increased from its origins in the 1960s linking university and defence laboratories to a global network connecting between 30 and 40 million peopleElmer-Dewitt 1995 This study was conducted to examine the social world that has been created by using internet discussion groups newsgroups The study surrounds four questions How often do personal relationships form in Internet newsgroups who has them how close or developed do they become and do relationships started on line migrate to other settings There are two conflicting viewpoints regarding internet communication One is of relationship lost while the other is of relationships liberated and found Parks Floyd 1996 which reflect the debates that surround the introduction of new technology and how this is altering society Previous research in this area used laboratories where small groups either worked face-to-faceFtF or communicated using a computer CMC Findings have emphasized disadvantages of CMC groups over FtF CMC do not agree often can be verbally aggresive and have a tendancy toward non-conformist behaviours ie flaming These behaviours are more frequent within CMC groups rather than FtF and has been observed in a variety of organisations eg Hiltz Turoff Johnson 1989 Lea OShea Fung Spears 1992 Sproull Kiesler 1986 The theory is that there are a lack of social cues on-line because the physical contact is missing Settings are more impersonal and non-conforming The HomeNet project tracked internet usage and mental well being of a small sample of users in Pittsburgh USA They discovered that Greater use of the internet was associated with small but statistically significant declines in social involvementand with increases in lonelinessGreater use of the Internet was also associated with increases in depression Kraut et al 1998 p1028 Although it was not clear whether the internet was cause of or effect on the people with
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