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The major difference here is that an internet relationship is sustained via computer or online service, and the individuals in the relationship may or may not ever meet each other in person.
Otherwise, the term is quite broad and can include relationships based upon text, video, audio, or even virtual character.
The amount of personal information users are being asked to provide is constantly increasing.
More and more online users are starting to explore and experiment with aspects of their sexual identities, whereas before, they may have felt uncomfortable due to social constraints or fear of possible repercussions.
Internet dating sites have benefitted greatly since the surge in easiness and accessibility of picture and video uploading.
Videos and pictures are equally important for most personal profiles.
This relationship can be between people in different regions, different countries, different sides of the world, or even people who reside in the same area but do not communicate in person. Michael Jaffe, author of Gender, Pseudonyms, and CMC: Masking Identities and Baring Souls, "the Internet was originally established to expedite communication between governmental scientists and defense experts, and was not at all intended to be the popular 'interpersonal mass medium' it has become", yet new and revolutionary devices enabling the mass public to communicate online are constantly being developed and released.
Online relationships are similar in many ways to pen pal relationships.
They have the ability to venture outside of their comfort zone and act as someone completely different. They concluded that "when asked what they were looking for in an online relationship, the considerable majority of participants expressed interest in seeking fun, companionship, and someone to talk to.
The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication reports the results of a study conducted by Robert J. Most also reported interests in developing casual friendships and dating relationships with online partners.
The overwhelming result was that children and youth consider their online relationships to be just as "real" as their offline relationships.
The study also showed that the internet plays a crucial role in most sexual and romantic experiences of adolescent users.
Due to the anonymity of these virtual profiles, individuals are more frequent to 'role'-play at being one of the predefined 'types', although offline, reservations may inhibit the individual from sharing true answers. Lenton, users of online games, websites, and other virtual communities are encouraged to conceal their identities and learn things about themselves that they never knew before.