Students make friendships over Internet

According to pewinternet.com, 57 percent of all teens have made friends online. Sophomore Aryanna Rossiter and junior Tahlia Frary have both made close friends through social networking apps such as Snapchat and Twitter. Through these friendships, Frary and Rossiter have learned more about themselves as well as the world around them.

“I’ve learned not to automatically assume something is weird just because it isn’t normal to me,” Rossiter said. “I have also learned that just because you are miles apart, doesn’t mean you can’t connect. I’ve met so many people that share interests with me, it’s amazing to feel connected even though you haven’t met face-to-face.”

Meeting through singer songwriter Lauren Sanderson on Twitter, Frary and her online acquaintance had been communicating for a whole year before meeting. Frary’s first face-to-face interaction with her internet friend occurred on a family vacation to Florida. It was a short lived experience as the two had not initially planned on meeting, but they filled their time with the beach and going out to eat.

“Before I met her I was very nervous because we’d never met in person and it’s not something normal to do,” Frary said. “After meeting her it was very hard to leave because you want to be with that person everyday, but you don’t get that chance because you live so far away.”

Despite the prospect of gaining a new companion, Rossiter said it can be scary trusting someone that you have never met.

“I was skeptical to trust people online, but not everyone is bad. It’s kind of like a leap of faith. I’m glad I started trusting people because if I didn’t then I wouldn’t have the friends I have today,” Rossiter said.

While meeting online friends does not come without its downfalls, Frary has still enjoyed making a close friend and will continue to plan visits with her. Rossiter also finds joy in starting fresh with people from around the country.

“Getting to know people without them growing up with me is a relief. I’m not a bad person, but the fact that I can have a clean slate every time I meet someone is refreshing,” Rossiter said. “It’s amazing to learn new things about people and just create friendships around the world.”

Unlike Frary, Rossiter still has yet to meet any of her online acquaintances but communicates with them often.

“I’ve talked to many of my online friends and we always say that ‘someday we will meet up and it will be amazing’,” Rossiter said. “It’s hard having such a close connection with these people and not getting to see them, but we’re still young and maybe one day we will meet up.”

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