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Title: Impact of Online Identities on Offline Relations: A Comparative Study of Virtual and Real Life
Authors: Farrukh, Muhammad
Keywords: Arts & Humanities
Mass Communication
Keywords: Online identities; offline relations; social efficacy
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Beaconhouse National University, Lahore
Abstract: Virtual communication through social networking sites: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Gaming Sites, and YouTube is the key characteristic of contemporary lifestyles, relationships, and interactions of young adults with friends and family. Its spread has raised concerns in Pakistan, a multi-lingual and multi-ethnic Muslim country, with conventional, family-orientated social frameworks based mostly on joint and extended systems. Online over-engagement though is increasing awareness, it is reducing real communication between parents and their (young) adults in urban Pakistan that the society considers essential for propagation of family norms, traditions, and values (Zaheer, 2016). It has compromised real family time and inter-family social networking by involving individuals in the virtual world. They are physically present with their families but they are mentally engaged with their mobile phones (Kanwal, Pitafi, Akhtar, and Irfan, 2019). They are more engaged in creating their virtual personas and maintaining virtual impressions than maintaining their real identity and relations. It is assumed that these time-consuming activities are disintegrating their real-life communication and family structure (Ali, 2019). The users form virtual identities and present and manage, what Erving Goffman calls, self-image and impression as they wish (1959/1975). The impression management causes time displacement, which means the increased online screen time reduces face to face interaction (Best, & Dautrich, 2003). The study assumes that Pakistani (young) adults spends a lot of time in developing online identities and relations with peoples of sorts that compromises their real life relationships with friends and family. It assumes that online identities and communications offer more openness than real offline relationsto (young) adults. It examines the impact of online identity construction processes and communications on their offline relations. It examines the impact that social media leaves on, what Comolli and Narboni call, social formations (2004), and Procentese, Gatti and Napoli call, collective efficacy and open communications within family. The researcher reviewed literature to find a gap and develop a survey questionnaire to collect data from 1000 university students of top 10 Universities in Lahore to measure their perceptions of the issues. This quantitative research uses a deductive approach to examine the impact of online identity construction processes and communications on offline relations. The study found that the respondents spent more time online than with their families. Most respondents disagreed that they had strong relationship with their families. They felt families were increasingly spending less time together and losing the tradition of gathering for normal family meals. They said they had greater interest in SNS as opposed to real socialization with family. They found SNS time more interesting than the family time. They said they cannot openly discuss all of their issues with their families, or friends, as most any Pakistanis are not open to discussion on all kind of ideas. If they were open, someone in the family could easily replace their social media friends. Families discourage discussion on sexual orientation, or controversial civic, political or religious ideas while online friends neutrally respond to many of their queries, or are empathetic, or encourage discussion on discouraged topics. The respondents found virtual life more meaningful than the real. They felt Pakistani friends and families can alienate their (young) adults while SNS friends offer an experience of openness, sharing and a feeling that users on both sides have a lot in common and can easily share their concerns, ideas and opinions. The findings serve as a guide for the strategists who may plan to sustain social values and good relations between parents and their (young) adults in what they are perceiving as digital Pakistan of the future.
Gov't Doc #: 27193
Appears in Collections:PhD Thesis of All Public / Private Sector Universities / DAIs.

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