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Is The Internet The New Way To Make Friends?

Stranger danger isn’t such a problem anymore.

POSTEDBYRACHEL TOOLEY

You really can’t get away from the internet these days. It plays a key part in our everyday lives, whether that’s to do your work, do your shopping or to even watch a movie. You can use the internet for basically anything. Millennials grew up in a more freeing time, a time where you’d still go and see if your friend across the street was ‘playing out’ that day.

Making the most of the sunshine in the summer break and spending more of their spare time roaming outdoors. Gen Z however, had it much different. Being brought up in a time that is so tech-savvy, meant they had a new meaning of the play. The availability of smartphones and new, easy to use tech and came with so many different options of games or social media that they couldn’t resist delving into. Connecting with their friends, or even making new ones. Is this the modern way of actually meeting new people?

Using online platforms and social media has made it easy for us to find people from the same subculture. We can navigate people alike, who have similar interests, hobbies and styles. Someone you may get along with much better than the person at work you sit opposite desks with, who always slurps their coffee and chews far too loud when they’re on lunch break. Social platforms can relieve the tension of approaching someone in public and basically getting pied off. Or even worse, having that awkward small talk until you realize maybe you’re not this person’s cup of tea after all. 

The internet has a constant presence in our lives, being accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Our URL lives and our IRL lives are becoming scarily intertwined with the vain ambition of being the best person you can be, presenting it to the world after tearing under the pressures of social ideals, even if this presentation is slightly unrealistic – I mean, we all love a good face filter.

People are even starting to form relationships online, sometimes even before they have met in person. The availability of dating apps and even just sliding in the DM’s of the person you fancy makes it much easier to form that special bond we’re all looking for. However, sometimes this can be risky. Showing the best version of yourself often means the catfish term is used loosely. Those filters and skin smoothing apps often add up to a real issue when you meet someone from online, offline. Some people’s profiles are also faked altogether, which is where danger can strike. All internet users are advised to be cautious when connecting with people you don’t know away from the screen. Millennials grew up with the stranger danger mentality, multiple cyberbullying and internet safety lessons at school. Gen Z, however, seems to be less of the case. Our newest generation is very tech-savvy, it makes it easier for us to find the authenticity of a person from the availability of different social media platforms, and video calls like FaceTime or Skype. 

IRL friends are certainly still the go-to in the relationship world, romantic or not. We still hear countless stories of people meeting their lifelong best friends whilst chain-smoking in together in their local club’s bathroom after one too many vodka sodas. Having such a large option for communicational platforms is useful when meeting URL friends offline. Taboos are getting broken down on meeting strangers. Social media is helping us to communicate quickly, easily and regularly, a useful tool to build up our relationships and keep in contact often.

Being safe on the internet is still very important. You often hear horror stories when people don’t take the right precautions and have got too deep into a situation. Taking small steps like telling a friend when and where you’re meeting someone, video chatting someone you’ve been contacting and verifying them in such ways is always worth the time to keep safe, and most importantly, still having fun. 

 

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