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Computer Medidated Communication:
The Social and Psychological Impacts on Society

by

Debra Calvin

The Internet is defined as is a group of inter-connected computers located all around the world. The Internet has a social and psychological impact on society. What are left out of this definition are the effects that come along with it. These effects can be good or bad. Many factors show this in several different ways. Computer Mediated Communication or CMC can describe relationships formed and filtered through via the Internet. The Internet has a social and psychological effect on society. These impacts have both a negative and positive effects on society. The Internet has many good qualities that can almost adhere for the bad. An individual can receive a lot of information of the Internet. This can help psychologically to give a person a sense of independence. This enables a person to be self-sufficient. Discussed in this research paper will be the positive and negative effects of the Internet and how it effects society both the socially and psychologically.
Throughout class, we have discussed many effects that created almost another identity, life, and set of norms for frequent Internet users. The Internet provides a whole different world socially. Communicative tools and environments mediate communicative acts but there still are loops in the system. Through the various chat groups and e- mail sites, you can meet many people from across the country.

These sometimes end up becoming meaningful relationships, which might end up in friendships or even marriage. Also, you can find people with common interest such as comic books, collections, or unusual interests that one might have difficulties finding like-minded individuals. The Internet can also provide a connection with others that can improve your occupational status. Networking has become quite common on the Internet and can open up many job opportunities. Job opportunities that have a social affect on society can be obtained through the Internet also. Many postings and different sites such as monster.com make this readily available.
The Internet has many negative effects. Computer Mediated Communication is another form in which to communicate. There have been many studies done on Computer Mediated Communication. There is the fact that people who are frequently on the Internet are less likely to be social with others face to face. This study does not state what age group and social class, though. A person can have negative social and psychological effects as a result of the Internet. Individuals who mean harm can obtain personal information such as credit card numbers in which can grant them access to all parts of your life. Stalking is another unfortunate side effect. Stalking not only can disturb ones social life, but also can disturb one psychologically. Users began to feel safer in the privacy of their own homes rather than leaving their homes due to fear. Harassment can occur on the Internet. Some users have malicious intentions to hurt another.
One of the negative impacts of the Internet is the lack of child protection. Children can enter the Internet and come across hate and/or vulgar sites that are incognito. An example of this can come from some of the white-supremacy sites.
Children for example might enter the keyword “church” and end up getting information on hate groups. This can causepsychological problems for a child who has never been introduced to things as such.


Although there are negative effects, the Internet has become something of beneficial value. In a study done on the Net and Netizens: The Impact the Net has on People's Lives by http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/project_book.html, it shows that the Internet has many benefits that make it a great place to be involved. This is not saying that the Internet should be used as a means to communicate solely but another form to be added on.

“The collection of individuals add to the interests and specialties of the whole. Most people can now gain something from the Net, while at the same time helping it out. A critical mass has developed on the net. Enough people exist that the whole is now greater than any one individual and thus makes it worthwhile to be part of.” (hauben)

People are meshing intellects and knowledge to form new ideas. Communication is made easier through the Internet. Though it is already known that the Internet can provide better and more stable relationships, it can also help individuals reveal various things about themselves that can provide a more positive social environment. As the cliché goes where the school nerd is never listened to when he tries to advise one of the football coaches on a better play to win the game. This can be a chance for someone who in person would not be taken seriously to be able to speak without all of the social perceptions that go on.
Socially, the Internet provides more than just leisure conversation; it is currently transforming work, school and play:“Virtually every business, political, and social activity will be affected by the Internet, and most activities will be dramatically. Child rearing, consumer behavior, education, politics and religion are being changed dramatically by the Internet: these changes have unprecedented effects on our culture better understood.”


Married couples who are users of the Internet seem to have a different effect on their social lives. For example, a 50 year old married user tends to have 20% fewer friends than a 50 year old married non-user. Further studies were done showing that there are not any real evidence that young adults in their twenties have less social relationships in comparison to non-users. But there is always a positive to every negative.

Caryn K. Roberts describes this best in an e-mail sent to Carmella Kedem."I have found friends on the Net. A lover. And two of the friends. I met, also met online and got married. I attended the wedding (inCalifornia)." (Roberts 2)Interpersonal relationships have positive and negative effects pertaining to the Internet. The Internet has a social and psychological effect on society. These impacts have both a negative and positive effects on society both psychologically and socially. “The Internet has many good qualities that can almost “Why do all these people "waste" their time sitting in front of a computer typing away? They have very good reason to! Ten million people plus have good reason not to be wrong.” (http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/project_book.html) This almost always adheres for the bad because there are some individuals who benefit from online communication.
An individual can receive a lot of information of the Internet. This can help psychologically to give a person a sense of independence. This enables a person to be self-sufficient. With the Internet, one does not even have to leave their home. They can just stay at home and do practically everything. If an individual is sick, they can just type in their symptoms and see what is wrong with them. Furthermore, the individual can even see what type of treatment is needed, order it and find help on the Internet.
Some individuals form a virtual lifestyle on the Internet that is as elaborate as real life. These individuals or Netizens, which stands for Net Citizen, have their own communities on the Internet. The community consists of different
people with different characteristics. Psychologically, an individual can feel a sense of belonging because they are a part of something. The community consists of various occupations, lifestyles, and ideals. One thing that is different about the Internet community is that the people have common interests.
Throughout this paper, one can receive a full understanding of how the Internet can provide an impact on society socially and psychologically. It is now proven that these effects can be both negative and positive. Negatively, there is a lack of child safety. There also privacy risks when on the Internet. One does not know what type of information is acquired. The also runs a risk of dealing with a stalker. There are also positive social and psychological impacts through Computer Mediated Communication, one can form bonds, become socially accepted and be taken seriously. Forming networks and being able to expressoneself in a manner that was unprecedented before this is a good quality of the Internet. To say whether or not the psychological impacts on society is positive or negative is looking at a glass half empty or half full. One just has to agree that computer mediated communication makes a large social and psychological change in society today.

Works Cited

http://www.columbia.edu/~hauben/project_book.html
http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/doc/misc/acn/netbook

http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/acad_unit/info_sys/pdf/wp-1-02.pdf%20-%20Cached
Carmella Kedem, file:///A:/ckedem@umd5.umd.edu, CAPP 385, Spring 1999
Cummings, J., Butler, B., & Kraut, R. (2002). The quality of online social relationships. Communications of the ACM, 45(7), 103-108.
UCLA Center for Communication Policy - Internet Project
Research Paper Theme: Social Impact of the Internet 8 Octobe...
Research Paper Theme: Social Impact of the Internet 8 October 1997 ABSTRACT The
Internet is the largest source of information in the world today. With... ...
http://www.joesessays.com/social_issues/soc72.shtml - Cached