Are Online Friends Really That Dangerous?

Adults tell kids and teens to keep away from people you don’t know online like the plague. Are they right to do this?

Online friends arent as bad as adults say they are.


Online friends aren’t as bad as adults say they are.

Luna Ruiz, Columnist

Friendships online are a part one of the newer sensations that go along with recent generations; the internet is a vast place, after all. Many people growing up right now are familiar with adults telling them the dangers of the internet. As kids, they are told that they should never socialize with “strangers.” There are several “safe technology use” programs in schools addressing this exact topic. Yet, 57% of all teenagers have made friends online according to the Pew Research Center.

However, it’s important to remember people online are still just people. The ones online playing video games, on social media, or making jokes on a Discord server are people with the same interests, enjoying the same things, despite living far away. The number of malicious people on these programs is much less than what adults would say. Not every single person to interact with through a screen is a threat.

After a while, the person may want to show their face or reveal their voice, which everyone can do once they’re comfortable. Just because someone isn’t comfortable with face or voice chatting right away doesn’t mean that they are malicious. There’s a high chance they want to get to know the person better first, which is okay. It can only happen with time.

There still are dangers, including meeting hackers or catfish out there, according to Potentash, so there’s a need to be careful. Keeping a watchful eye on what the person says and how they act is key. It can let one know whether they’ve found a genuine online friend or not.

The cool part about having friends online is that they may live thousands of miles away, but you can still talk to them whenever you want. If their culture is different, it can be a fun thing to discuss. Also, Yard Couch says that “It is often easier to open up about serious issues or personal dilemmas with online friends than it is IRL [in real life].” Of course, sharing super personal information isn’t the way to go at first. Keeping track of what you say for the first couple of months is important.

Friends through a screen can be worrisome at first, but after securing a friendship, it’s not troubling anymore. Online safety education is necessary because dangerous things can happen often, but seeing others online isn’t something that should be forbidden.