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Virtual Friendships: What Is It Like for GenZs to Have Internet Friends

by RepublicAsia

DEFINED as it is, internet friends are people you randomly meet and become friends with on the Internet. Most internet friendships are built on various social media platforms.

Due to this generation’s heavy consumption of the internet where everything can be done, we try meeting and making friends with new people.

Photo Courtesy: Bianca De Castro

People develop Internet Friendships with strangers because of many reasons. You get interested in meeting them and vice versa because you share the same interests and opinions. 

Bianca De Castro, 22, started having internet friends as early as 14-years-old. She met most of her internet friends on X (formerly Twitter) and got along with them because they were huge fans of boy bands One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer, and NCT 127.

Photo Courtesy: Bianca De Castro

Then there comes the meet-ups during concerts. She even went with one of them during Louis Tomlinson’s Manila concert in July 2023. As for her fellow K-pop fan friends, they call a side on X “BNS (Buy-N-Sell)”. She said it all started when she sold a photocard of WayV member, Ten, and eventually became friends with the buyer. 

“I really thought that the group chat wouldn’t last so long and that we wouldn’t interact with each other, but we all ended up being close! Closeness level would be having a group chat in Messenger and Telegram, and even having a group call! When the pandemic restrictions were lifted and concerts were already allowed, we all met up with one another! Except, we still weren’t complete.” She added.

Bianca said that having internet friends somehow helps her with her mental health as she can “switch off her brain’ once in a while. “Just being excited about new releases and new music from our favorite idols really helps me in destressing. they’re somehow like my comfort zone, where I can be genuinely happy.” She added.

She said the reason she keeps in touch with her internet friends is because sometimes, they even become your “one call away” instead of those people you are already friends with in real life. 

Photo Courtesy: Bianca De Castro

But there’s still a huge difference between real life and virtual friendships for her. “I think it’s because, when I meet and become friends with person in real life, I tend to connect with them in a more personal level. for example, most of the friends I have online are only people i talk to whenever there are new contents released by our favorite artist or idol, but the conversation’s only until there. As for my friends in real life, they know more of my personal life. they know my struggles, what my actual personality is like, how I behave in certain situations, my past and the trauma that comes with it, mostly stuff like that.” She explained.

Regardless of how long and “deep” the friendships you have right now with your Internet friends, the risk of meeting, talking, and trusting strangers online is still present.

The wide world of the Internet is still a huge help to communicate freely and connect with the rest of the world. The connection will be safe as long as you set boundaries and limits on every action you do to gain a friend and develop a friendship. 

With reports from Louisse Kalingag



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