Love and friendship in cyberspace

Van Rensburg, Erma J. (2001-13)

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since its birth in the early 1960's the Internet has been growing exponentially in all areas and it is predicted that by the year 2002, 490 million people around the world will have Internet access. Similarly, a rapidly increasing number of people are finding themselves working and playing on the Internet, using computer mediated communication (CMC) to converse, exchange information, debate, court, and show compassion. As a result CMC has become a new way for people to find or meet each other via social Internet tools and form and develop personal relationships. Malcolm R. Parks (1997) compiled a theory of relational development, incorporating seven dimensions along which the nature of interaction changes as relationships develop or deteriorate: 1. Interdependence (influence on each other), 2. Breadth (variety of interaction), 3. Depth (intimacy of interaction), 4. Commitment (expectations that a relationship will continue), 5. Predictability and understanding (familiarity with each other), 6. Code change (creating own linguistic forms and culture) and 7. Network convergence (introducing each other to respective online contacts and social networks). This study investigated the relational development reached in interpersonal relationships initiated and maintained online via social Internet tools. As mainly South Africans responded, results provide first time information about South African Web users' online relationships. Results show that the majority of online relationships reached above average levels of relational development as measured by elevated scores on most of the seven dimensions. The results also show significant differences between the levels of relational development reached in online friendships as opposed to online romantic attachments. The results are consistent with past research and could be used as a point of departure for further investigations into South African's Internet social practices and relational development in online settings.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Internet het, sedert sy oorsprong in die vroee 1960's, eksponensieel gegroei tot die mate dat, teen die jaar 2002, 'n voorspelde 490 miljoen mense wereldwyd Internet toegang sal he. Daar is net so 'n dramatiese toename in die hoeveelheid mense wat die Internet begin gebruik ten einde te werk en te speel, deur CMC (computer mediated communication) te gebruik om te gesels, te debatteer, inligting uit te ruil, mekaar die hof te maak en ondersteuning te verleen. As gevolg hiervan is CMC 'n nuwe platform waar mense mekaar ontmoet deur sosiale Internet instrumente in te span en op hierdie wyse persoonlike verhoudings te begin. Malcolm R. Parks (1997) het 'n teorie van relasionele ontwikkeling saamgestel, waarvolgens hy die sewe dimensies wat verander soos verhoudings groei of disintegreer, inkorporeer. Die dimensies is: 1. Interafhanklikheid (invloed op mekaar), 2. Breedte (variasie van interaksie), 3. Diepte (intimiteit van interaksie), 4. Verbintenis (verwagting dat die verhouding sal hou), 5. Voorspelbaarheid en begrip (bekend wees met mekaar), 6. Kode verandering (nuwe taalvorme en idiome) en 7. Netwerk konversie (om mekaar bekend te stel aan elektroniese en ander kontakte). Hierdie studie het die relasionele ontwikkeling ondersoek wat bereik is deur interpersoonlike verhoudinge wat deur middel van 'n sosiale Internet instrument ge'inisieer en onderhou is. Hoofsaaklik Suid-Afrikaners het deelgeneem en vir die eerste keer is statistiek oor Suid- Afrikaanse Internet gebruikers se elektroniese vehoudings beskikbaar. Resuitate toon dat die meerderheid van die verhoudings hoer as gemiddelde vlakke van relasionele ontwikkeling bereik het, 5005 gemeet deur die sewe dimensies. Die resultate wys ook dat daar 'n betekenisvolle verskil is tussen die relasionele ontwikkeling van elektroniese vriendskappe en romantiese verbintenisse. Die resultate stem ooreen met vorige studies en vorm 'n stewige grondslag vir verdere navorsing oor Suid-Afrikaners se sosiale Internet praktyke en verhoudings.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52328
This item appears in the following collections: