Stringing A Line

Remember The Good Old Days?

Technology has given us so many wonderful ways to shorten the time it takes to get things done. Maybe you're old enough to remember how long it used to take to make an overseas call. You needed to go through the operator and wait for ages before you could actually hear the phone ring on the other end of the line. Even after the person you called picked up, there was still a time delay because the operator had to verify the individual. Then, you yelled into the phone (because you were speaking to someone overseas and that's a long way away). Today, we can sit at our computers in the comfort of our homes and actually communicate face-to-face with the convenience of VOIP and video calling.

Another thing that has come of age is online relationships. The ability to connect with people from anywhere in the world, people you had no idea existed, is simplified and easier than ever. Chat rooms and blogs offer an opportunity to meet and talk, share ideas, make friends, and sometimes even find the love of your life.

The Beauty Of Online Relationships...

One of the things that make online relationships so fascinating and comfortable is that it is a connection of mind-to-mind; the physical aspect is eliminated. There are sites and chats that offer the ability to choose an avatar (a persona that is represented by a type of cartoon character) and people can create a fantasy world complete with love, marriage, and the proverbial baby carriage. In the invisible world of online relationships, a young child can share their thoughts, feelings, experiences and intelligence without anyone knowing their age. The same goes for a person who is in their senior years. Whether you choose to meet seniors online at eharmony.com or on a different online dating site, people are able to express themselves and feel respected because the physical aspect of the relationship is removed. There is no opportunity to judge based on what the eye sees or what the ear hears.

...And, The Downfall Of Same

Of course, there's another side to the equation. The danger is inherent in the very qualities that make it beautiful. You do not know with whom you are "speaking." A youngster can appear to be quite mature, and a senior quite young. You just don't know. The clues we get, oftentimes without even being aware, from the visual and auditory aspects of relating with someone face-to-face or on the phone, are not there. We have no way of knowing this individual apart from the words we read.

Beauty And The Beast

We have often heard and read about ill-intentioned individuals preying upon young people through internet relationships. That is why it is so important to govern online communications for youngsters. On the other hand, online relationships have been known to culminate in face-to-face relationships that have blossomed into either true friendship or something more. There are chat rooms and various sites available for people to connect with others, which are monitored and checked regularly. Essentially, they are "safe". At least, as safe as an online communication with a stranger can be.

Perhaps the best word of caution would be that as it is in cards, trust your dealer, but cut the deck.

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