The Internet has been an integral part of our everyday life for at least ten years. We use it to shop, maintain relationships with family and friends, and often even establish intimate relationships. The activities that we undertake in the analogue world are more and more often intertwined with those that relate to virtual reality, and the borderline between the two worlds is becoming more fluid. The research confirms that the Internet does not leave our social-psychological relations untouched.
A world without barriers
It is difficult to disagree that universal access to the Internet has numerous social benefits. In this context, it is worth mentioning researchers who believe that the digital revolution can not only be compared to the one of the nineteenth century, but can even have more far-reaching effects than the industrial revolution. It is virtual reality that makes us capable of overcoming geographical and social barriers. What is more, thanks to the Internet millions of people have gained access to knowledge that was previously beyond their reach. Thousands of kilometres are no longer an obstacle.
Is a new ethics emerging before our eyes?
However, it is impossible to overlook the fact that the Internet has significantly influenced our understanding of what is acceptable and what is not. It turns out that the Internet can change not only the way we think about ourselves, but also the perception of what can be considered socially acceptable. At the beginning of the twenty-first century it is also increasingly being said that psychology and the humanities will also have to respond in some way to the digital revolution. Internet use alone can, moreover, influence the perception of what is ethical and what cannot be considered as such. People who function in the virtual world become more selfish and individualistic thinking prevails over collective thinking. As a result, we often face a situation in which the social and ethical norms that bind societies together in the real world, in the virtual world, are distorted and even come out of use. Unfortunately, when Internet users accept that everything that is good for them is also allowed, they are not far from fully accepting hatred and aggression on the Internet as a model of contact with other people.
On the border of two worlds
When we talk about the Internet as a space in which we function, we have to keep in mind that it is understood differently from the so-called analogue reality. This trend is easiest to notice if the subject of research is the youngest of the network user groups. For young people, the Internet is increasingly becoming a separate reality, and thus also has other moral and ethical standards. It is worth mentioning here very interesting research on lying in the Internet, because on the basis of which it can be stated that it appears more often in the virtual world than in the real world. The Internet is also a space in which the limit of behaviours, to which there is permission, is shifting. It is also easier to formulate categorical and radical judgments here. Interestingly, this tendency is not equally characteristic of each of us, and the most likely to behave in this way are both inherently aggressive people and those who are quite shy in their private lives. More and more often it has been pointed out that the Internet is able to change the way we think about what is ethical and morally acceptable and it is difficult to disagree with that.