1st Edition

Truth, Lies and Trust on the Internet

By Monica T. Whitty, Adam Joinson Copyright 2009
    184 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    184 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Internet is often presented as an unsafe or untrustworthy space: where children are preyed upon by paedophiles, cannibals seek out victims, offline relationships are torn apart by online affairs and where individuals are addicted to gambling, love, and cybersex.

    While many of these stories are grounded in truth, they do paint a rather sensationalized view of the Internet, the types of people who use it, and the interactions that take place online. Simultaneously, researchers claim that the Internet allows individuals to express their true selves, to develop 'hyperpersonal' relationships characterised by high levels of intimacy and closeness. At the heart of these competing visions of the Internet as a social space are the issues of truth, lies and trust.

    This book offers a balanced view of the Internet by presenting empirical data conducted by social scientists, with a concentrated focus on psychological studies. It argues that the Internet’s anonymity which can enable, for instance, high levels of self-disclosure in a relationship, is also responsible for many of its more negative outcomes such as deception and flaming. This is the first book to develop a coherent model of the truth-lies paradox, with specific reference to the critical role of trust.

    Truth, Lies and Trust on the Internet is a useful text for psychology students and academics interested in Internet behaviour, technology, and online deviant behaviour, and related courses in sociology, media studies and information studies.


    Preface. Acknowledgements  1. Introduction  2. Let’s Talk About Me, Me, Me: Self-Disclosure on the Internet  3. The Role of Truth in Relationship Formation Online  4. Misery Loves Company: Emotional and Practical Support Online  5. Online Research, Ethics and the Candid Participant  6. Online Deception, Fraud, Spam, and Cons  7. Short, Light and Ugly: Misrepresentation of the Self in Online Dating Sites  8. Cheating With a Mouse: Internet Infidelity  9. Building Trust through Communication  10. Cyberstalking and Harassment: Violating Trust  11. Surveillance, Privacy and Trust  12. Developing Trust in Online Counselling  13. Concluding Thoughts.  References.  Author Index.  Subject Index


    Monica Whitty is Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. She lectures on cyberpsychology, social psychology, and qualitative methods. In recent years her work has focused on online dating, cyber-relationships, internet infidelity, misrepresentation of self online, cyberstalking, cyber-ethics, and internet and email surveillance in the workplace.

    Adam Joinson is Senior Lecturer in Information Systems at the University of Bath. His research interests include computer-mediated communication, e-social science, privacy and disinhibition online.

    "This is an excellent book that thoroughly covers timely issues in emerging society in a comprehensive and profound way. Concepts, issues and controversial topics are very well deliberated, presented in a friendly style and accompanied by numerous examples." - Professor Azy Barak, University of Haifa, Israel

    "This book may serve as an important reference text in undergraduate courses on the Internet because it is an indispensible and well-structured guide to approaches taken by recent researchers. I will recommend it to my graduate students who intend to conduct research online as a way of considering the pitfalls of such research."Daniel Keyes, PsycCRITIQUES, April 29th, 2009, vol. 54, Release 17, Article 1.