OPINION: Online friends are a form of modern connection, not something to be hostile towards


Olive Howden

Online friendship often gets stigmatized as being dangerous.

Everyone looks for something different in a friendship, whether it’s emotional support, a partner in their endeavors, or simply positive human interaction.

Modern technological advancements paved the way for new methods of communication, bringing new types of friendships, such as friends online. Online friendships are good since they are often just as strong as face-to-face relationships.

An online friendship is exactly what is sounds like: a sense of camaraderie between people in which all social interactions happen through internet platforms. Despite likely not ever getting to meet in person, the bonds between online friends can be resilient and rewarding.

Because communication occurs through technology, different circumstances are created, allowing online friends to be there for each other when in-person friends cannot. For example, if somebody finds themself in a delicate social situation, internet friends can be an emotional safety net, even when someone feels that everyone else is against them.

An online friend can also be a good person to blow off steam to. If a person is struggling with offline problems, online friends may be the only people who can listen.

Due to their detachment from in-person social circles, sharing secrets with online friends is often safer. There is significantly less incentive for online friends to share those secrets with other people.

Seeking internet friendships can also help people who are queer, have disabilities or a unique identity feel less isolated in their struggles. The vastness of the internet results in thriving online communities where people can reach out to support groups, find friends and make meaningful connections, which can result in long-lasting and fulfilling friendships.

Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet makes it easy for someone to lie about their identity and mask their ill intent. Truthfully, people need to be cautious about sharing their personal information to people they aren’t familiar with. All kinds of people lurk online, not just kind-hearted and supportive people.
Anyone can say almost anything online, so just like face to face friendships, it is necessary for a person thinking of befriending someone online to ensure that a potential friend is not a harmful individual. Friendship by nature is mutually beneficial, and online friendships are no exception.

Despite potential risks, befriending someone through the internet can be a rewarding and valuable experience for all of the positive aspects it boasts.