From the issue: Friends

The lesson “Don’t talk to strangers on the internet” has long been taught to many teenagers exploring the world wide web. But for some Kennedy students, those strangers have become very close friends.

Ryann Jensen, jr., has made close friends from all around the United States, five of which she communicates with on a regular basis. Jensen’s friends help her to expand on her art skills, even when they are miles away.

“Collaborating is definitely something special about online friends. Being into art, I have a lot more “art friends” than I do in real life. When you have someone with the same talents and ideas and hobbies as you, it’s easy to come together and creating something,” Jensen said.

Social media websites ranging from Twitter to Tumblr are connecting people from all around the world with a click of a button. Technology has allowed for new forms of contact, like online messaging, tweeting, web chatting, facetime, snapchatting, and more. Because of the change of communication, there is also a change in the way people make friends, as conversations usually take place over a text or video chat.

“It feels new every time you talk to them because you don’t get to see them that often and you’re a lot more eager,” Shelbi Benion, sr., said.

Benion has both Twitter and Tumblr accounts, and with over 469 Twitter followers, has built up her online friends over time. Despite the strong bonds that online friends can form, the anonymity of people online can raise some concerns.

“I know a lot of people would be worried about the creepers online and crazy people, and I would say that is completely plausible,” Jensen said, “That’s why you should always, always, always be careful about who you befriend, where you befriend them, and how long you know them, it definitely adds up to being safe online.”

Both Jensen and Benion agree that they would like to meet the friends they’ve made online in real life.