“Barebacking” (“riding without a saddle” as a metaphor for deliberately unprotected sexual intercourse) describes a specific phenomenon where people search the internet for special contacts that will provide a particular type of sexual encounter.For instance, some people look for HIV-infected partners online in order to infect themselves with the virus (in detail see Eichenberg ).On the other hand, research tries to prove the benefits of incorporating digital media into family life in order to alleviate stressful situations such as the common logistical and organizational challenges most families have to face.Therefore, positive and negative effects of ICTs on family dynamics are considered.


In this area, questions concerning the influence of social stereotyping, such as “interracial dating”, (Alhabash et al. Findings indicate that, for example, white heterosexual people are particularly attracted by other white users’ online profiles including the desired characteristics matching the expected stereotype (ibid.).).

What options does digital networking offer in terms of modern forms of family formation?

(2) : How do couples shape their communication via the internet and smartphone usage?

Online-relationships are seen as deceptive and non-binding and they create unrealistic expectations due to the potential idealization of the counterpart as an “optimal partner” (ibid.).

Other authors emphasize the predominance of a strongly cognitive orientation to assess a person’s matching characteristics on the basis of comprehensive information (Geser and Bühler ), although many of these risks also exist with offline dating contacts.


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