Much the same lowering of the guard one experiences in an airport or on a plane when strangers share intimacies without a qualm, something they would not do with people they know. The problem arises when people become obsessed with the need to live in the other world and confuse it for the real thing. Much of that is happening now and Networking has taken on a whole new and dangerous meaning. With virtual friends, even virtual romancers, virtual groups sharing similar ideas, chatrooms that are malevolent and dangerous, reality bites the dust. The trend towards connectivity has been ongoing. Whether it was carrier pigeon or cell phone, tweets or more, the need to make contact has been a human priority for centuries. But this new invasion of each other's privacy does have an ugly underside if we let it run our lives.
That is when things begin to go wrong and reality blurs. It is clearly a running away from the demands of the world and has more than a dash of cowardice in it. Not just that, it is being gradually recognised as a sickness and is connected to depression, schizoid tendencies, lack of self-esteem, rage and even suicide. The virtual world becomes a refuge and more hours are spent hiding there than coming to grips with one's life. There is also some voyeuristic delight in the trials and tribulations of other people and the peeping Tom factor also gets a speaking part. As the network spreads the tendency to be unguarded and spill out one's innermost feelings intensifies and the individual is hooked.
It is now being recommended that the affliction is not to be seen as a laughing matter and if a relative or friend is exhibiting symptoms of net-mania it is worth seeking professional help. Don't be bashful or awkward, you could be doing that person a favour by shaking him or her back to reality.