‘u r a lot bolder on the net’: shyness and Internet use
Over the past two decades the prevalence of shyness in young adults in western societies has risen from 40 per cent to 48 per cent. This increase has been attributed to social, economic and technological presses reducing the need for face-to-face contact between individuals in everyday life, and limiting the opportunities to develop and practise social skills, and form intimate relationships (Carducci, 1999; Carducci and Zimbardo, 1995; Henderson and Zimbardo, 1998). Indeed, Carducci and Zimbardo (1995: 82) describe technology as ‘ushering in a culture of shyness’ where technology is changing or replacing personal communication. At the same time they describe computer-mediated communication (CMC) as ‘the perfect medium for the shy’ (p. 82) as a result of the greater control over the communication process, the absence of time constraints in preparing messages and the absence of direct observation by others.