Electronic Relationships

Understudied relationships - CMC + Mobile phones

  • Created by: Marie
  • Created on: 21-05-09 19:09


A01: Development of Internet relationships

  • Intial attraction - Because bodily information is removed in CMC, text and text-related issues (e.g. frequency of email contact) take on greater importance
  • Finding Love - Research (e.g. Chenault, 1998) shows that people in Internet relationship might have quite different perceptions of the nature of their relationship

A02: However:Research support concerning the success of online relationships tends to be sparse. Most evidence comes from anecdotal accounts or magazine articles rather than properly controlled scientific studies

A02: Advantages of online relationships

  • They are good for people who lack the skills or opportunities to develop face-to face relationships
  • The ACE model (YOUNG, 1999) - CMC offers anonymity, convenience and escape
  • CMC offers a way of 'getting to know' friends better compared with many friendships in 'real life'.
1 of 5

A01: The Nature of Internet relationships

  • Reduces cues: Reduced cues theory (CULNAN and MARKUS, 1987) claims that CMC filters out important aspects of communication (e.g. intensity and volume that are present in face-to-face relationships).
  • Deindividuation: a lack of physical and social cues in CMC leads to deindividuation (a lack of individual identity) which may in turn foster anti-normative and uninhibited behaviours

A02: Disadvantages of online relationships - Because individuals are able to control their self-representation, this can lead to deception and abuse. As a result, it is more difficult to develop trust between partners.

A01: The SIDE Model

  • The model counters the view that CMC liberates individuals from social constraints and norms.
  • Although anonymity is CMC deprives individuals of individual awareness, a social or a group identity replaces it.
  • This can then lead to the formation of strong relationships withing groups on the Internet.
2 of 5


A01: Relational functions of mobile telephones - Mobile phones have changed the way in which people develop and maintain relationships

A02: Supported by ... LING and YTTRI (2002) who found that adolescents frequently exchange texts following an initial meeting. This allows them to register their interest in developing a relationship with the other person.

  • Co-ordination: mobile phones allow family members to co-ordinate their activities and allow non-custodial parents to maintain contact with their children
  • Parental control: Children can develop and maintain relationship without the parental control evident in other relationships
  • Emancipation: Mobile phones facilitate emancipation from the family to 'adult' reference groups
3 of 5

Development and maintenance of relationships through SMS messaging - This has an important role in the formation and maintenance of relationships


  • Relationship formation: Texting can provide a 'contact ritual' whereby people can exchange messages after an initial meeting and thus show interest
  • Relationship maintenance: Texting can be use to 'manage' relationships in the most efficient way, and may also be used to consolidate a social network.
4 of 5

A02: Advantages of SMS over CMC

  • The immediacy of text messaging means that the mobile phone is more efficient and convenient way of maintain relationships than e-mail or other forms of communication.
  • The use of SMS messaging means that we are always available, making it easier to co-ordinate the activities of a group of friends.

A02: Disadvantages of mediated relationships

  • Individuals may become overly reliant on CMC and SMS for the initiation and maintenance of relationships at the expense of face-to-face relationship skills
  • Because it is easier to send a text rather than visit in person, this can weaken face-to-face ties between individuals.
5 of 5





Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Relationships resources »