Internet Interactions

Do Online Friends Connect Us Or Cause Concern?

Photo+illustration+of+a+student+on+the+phone+with+an+online+friend.+%22It+only+stimulates+real+human+interactions%2C%22+spoke+Tyler+Woods%2C+knowing+that+it+doesn%27t+satisfy+the+need+for+having+relationships+with+people+in+real+life.

Jasmin Perez

Photo illustration of a student on the phone with an online friend. "It only stimulates real human interactions," spoke Tyler Woods, knowing that it doesn't satisfy the need for having relationships with people in real life.

Members of Generation Z have started befriending people from all over the world. With the opportunity to have such a large number of friends from so many different countries, it’s interesting to be able to connect with others and look past distance and language barriers, but do online friends affect people negatively? And what exactly are online friends?

An online friend is someone befriended through any means of the internet. It can be through games or group chats you were invited to. There isn’t a boundary to how you can reach others on the internet.

“Online friends keeps us connected in that we are talking to a human, but isolates us because we don’t have real human interactions,” said junior Tyler Woods.

Although rare, “real human interactions” are occasionally created. Sophomore Evelyn Gallegos was able to recounting meeting her online friends and mentioned, “I met my online friends through a boy band called Why Don’t We,” Gallegos continued, ”I was invited into a few group chats from other friends and I met a couple at concerts. They became some of my really good friends.”

“I think they [online friends] have a positive impact because sometimes there is always going to be conflict at school, and online friends can’t judge because they don’t know the people you do,” commented Gallegos. “But it can also be negative because people can take certain things and turn it around, and you’ll never know what they are saying since they are talking to online friends.”

Experiences from person to person are varied, but regardless of those experiences, online friends have something in common. “…it only simulates having real life interactions,” Woods ended with, maintaining that online friends create a fine-line between isolation and connection.

However, to different people, it means different things. Isolation to an extrovert would be to withdraw themselves from human experience, being around people and in their company and introvert might not ever need that. They could be left alone and totally content in the idea of having online friends. It’s a decision each person gets to make and figure out for themselves.

Online friends could keep us more isolated than before, as well as make us the most connected we ever have been in the past. It’s up to the person to make that decision and what’s best for them on a case-to-case basis.