Week 2: Friends Online
this post, written by the wonderful
discusses the concept of internet friends, and where both we as teenagers and the adults around us stand in the online world.
Hi! First of all, thanks so much to L for organising this project, because it’s lovely and really makes you think about society 🙂
For my post, I want to address something a lot of people will relate to (hopefully): the Internet, and how some people don’t understand how we, as teens, fit into it.
A little like life, the Internet is filled with all types of people: perverts, creeps, but also and most importantly, the people that make it amazing. I’m talking about the people who inspire you, who make you smile and who are your support network when you need to vent. On Tumblr, or forums, or any other site that you go on with other people who are like you.
But for some reason, many adults (or other teens) – I won’t generalise – only focus on the bad parts. The dangers – which of course are real, but that’s the same with anything you do – and they don’t focus on the parts that bring people true happiness.
If you mention the phrase “internet friends”, to your parents perhaps, or maybe a friend, their response might be a widening of the eyes, a sigh or the question, “Wait, so you TALK to strangers online? How do you know they aren’t creeps?”
People hear stories about others being killed because of encounters that they had in real life with people they met on the Internet. It scares people, and often, it’s what dominates their thoughts about their child, or their friend, making friends who they’ve never met.
My point is, people don’t often realise that the friends we make here are the people that make us the happiest. It’s about being careful, and about KNOWING the risks – and if you’re sensible, you do, and all of us here are. We may be teenagers, but we’re also mature.
It’s the stigma around the Internet and talking to strangers that has even made this an issue. Parts of it are justified, but what people need to remember is that we KNOW what we are doing. It’s about trust, but it’s mostly about friendship and the amazing friends you can find here.
It’s okay to make Internet friends, from all over the world. Life can be dangerous, but that’s with everything. We are valid, we are sensible and we are strong enough to deal with the dangers.
From Elm 🙂