Many of the girls we have interviewed have told us how their interests in the Internet grew from the Web sites which promote pop music and fashion — at the time of the study this particularly involved sites that promoted boy bands, many of which contain links that lead them into chatrooms and related sites.
These chatroom sites provide opportunities to try on alternative ways of looking and being in interaction with others, who share similar interests and who appear to take you at ‘face value’; a face you can manipulate for effect without fear of detection.
Ms Mileham conducted in-depth interviews with 76 men and 10 women, aged 25 to 66, who used Yahoo's "Married and Flirting" or Microsoft's "Married But Flirting" Internet chat rooms. The study participants included stay-at-home mothers, construction workers, engineers, nurses and presidents of large corporations.
In the vast majority of cases, spouses who had Internet encounters with the opposite sex did not think they were doing anything wrong.
Yet research had shown that on-line adultery caused the same feelings of hurt, anger and betrayal as skin-to-skin contact.
In the public imagination, there are two sides to the Internet coin.
There is a shiny side, celebrated in numerous government policies and programs, which holds out the promise of a new economy based on access to unlimited information, new and exciting curricula and schooling that will engage children and young people in purposeful and useful activity.