Benefits of Having Online Friendships

Cartoon by Natalie Irula

Kelsey Walter

Copy Editor

As if going to work, attending school, studying, homework, socializing, and somehow fitting sleep and eating into all of that wasn’t enough for a student going through college, there are some people, like myself, that choose to have an array of friends from all over the world that they keep in contact with online.

When most of us were younger, we were all told by our parents that meeting strangers online was extremely dangerous, but as we grew older we realized that it’s something that really helps us in times that real life is getting too stressful.

According to CBS News, 57 percent of teens/young adults have met new friends online, and nearly 29 percent say they’ve made more than five friends in digital spaces, like Facebook or online gaming.

For some, online-based friendships make socializing easier and are actually something that’s really helpful for their social lives.

For my cousin, because he’s homeschooled, having friends online made it able for him to feel less isolated from being home all the time, and he’s said multiple times that he actually has more friends online than he did while he was actually in high school.

As college students, it’s hard to find that balance between our social lives and our professional lives, and having these online-based friendships may able to help some people with that loneliness.

Junior English major Gabby Stanley said that if it wasn’t for her friendships based online that she would feel that she was going insane.

“I have a lot of friends in person, but because we’re all so busy we don’t even get to text much,” says Stanley. “With my online friends, although we do have times that we all are busy, we still make a conscious effort to speak once a day, and that makes me really happy to call them my friends.”

Online based friendships and keeping friends online could also help those who had friends that moved to different states.

Stanley also told us that she wouldn’t even be in her current relationship if it were for the presence of online-based friendships, because her boyfriend lives in South Carolina.

Junior Business major Thais Rivera explained that if it wasn’t for the presence of social media and our smartphones, that she would have never been able to stay in contact with her best friend as much as she does after she moved to Florida.

“I text her and FaceTime her every day. If it wasn’t for my phone and the internet, we wouldn’t be friends anymore, and that would break my heart,” says Rivera.

Not to say that I think you should drop all of your real-life friends for random people on the internet, but next time you see someone on twitter have similar interests as you, maybe give them a follow, or even say hello.

You never know what’s going to come out of just reaching out to someone, and for all, you know it may flourish into a life long relationship.

Email Kelsey at:

kwalter@live.esu.edu

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