Photographs courtesy of Giang Nguyen

Modern inventions have made life much easier, from automobiles to cell phones and even laundry machines or hygienic supplies. But one of the major inventions of today has to be, by far, the Internet. Whether it is used to check the weatheor look up what has to be done in class today, we use it for everything.

Yet, one thing the Internet has allowed us to do that we do not talk about often is the ability to talk to other people, no matter how far away they are.  We have heard the classic stranger danger” axiom, but behind the computer screen we seem to forget these warnings. We often become friends with people we may never meet.

Some of us even go so far as to set up meetings so that we might be able to see these friends in real life. Sometimes, these online friends become so close to us that we cannot imagine a world in which we never met them. To gain friendships via Internet is not necessarily a bad thing. Although many people might gawk at the idea of becoming friends with someone they might never see, it is something that more and more people are doing as online culture becomes more influential in their lives. The phenomenon of becoming friends with other people via the Internet might be happening because we do not have to transition through an awkward phase of physically meeting and greeting someone.

Instead, we merely enter a chatroom and simply say the word “hello” into an apparent void and wait for another person to answer. There is no one to look at and no one to judge – merely a soft and quick hello.” Or, we can dive into chatrooms made for our interests and gain companionship with people that we know already share our interests without having to fish from other strangers. There is that magical computer screen to separate us from another person, making discussions both lighthearted and heavyhanded so much easier to talk about. 

However, with this ability to make it easier to talk to people, it is important to also practice how to communicate in the real world. We cannot hope to only interact with humanity via Internet, as we still have to live in society and interact with others on a daily basis. All things should be practiced in moderation, even Internet friendships. We have to learn to balance our online and offline personas so that we do not rely on either of them too heavily.