Updated: Oct 2
In a time where virtual is the new normal, online friendships are more important than ever. We talked with a few individuals that are well versed in the online world, and uncovered the highs and lows they have experienced while maintaining online relationships.
Building the Relationship
Sean Lay, a junior at Central High School, has been involved in the online gaming community for a while now. He talks about the biggest factors that set apart online and face-to face-friendships, and the benefits and drawbacks he has experienced while developing his online friends.
In Sean’s experience, you skip the small talk. The common interest that can exist between online friends is part of what brings you closer together. This plays a role in developing a deeper relationship than those of your face-to-face friendships, even when a relationship through a screen might seem strange.
Effort Makes All the Difference
Sydney Weber, a college student, became familiar with the world of virtual friends early in her life, similar to Sean. She shares how the value of an online friendship is sure to reflect in the effort you put into it-- on both sides of the screen.
Peggy Wooden is an active member of the virtual karaoke community. Through SingSnap, a virtual singing app, she has had the chance to sing with (and befriend) musicians from all around the world. Peggy talks about the benefits of certain online features through SingSnap, and her preference of online vs. in-person friends.
Peggy Wooden and a few of her online friends:
A Psychological Explanation
So, we know the dynamics of online and offline friendships are quite different, but why is this the case? Emily Halinger, Central's psychology teacher, provides the psychological differences between virtual and face-to-face interactions.
Tips: Navigating the Virtual World
Be Safe & Be Friendly
Online friends can be for anyone from all walks of life. It is important to practice internet safety and to err on the side of caution, but why not go for it? Making online friends could lead to new perspectives and more meaningful relationships.
This has been Sophia Birmingham and Grace Tyau reporting.