Archive for the ‘having fun online’ Category

Driving the Away Blues – Online Friendships

The unknown also excites human beings. Yes, we all need adventure and excitement and the internet has provided just that for us. How? Well, as the online friendship enthusiasts and they will tell you how much more fun has been added to their lives, along with the seriousness of learning and sharing… But they also insist on being careful. We find out more about online friendships – the highs and lows…

Ever since the internet has taken the world by a storm, it has brought happiness and joy to innumerable lives. And what’s more, it’s actually shrunken the world. Making friends for life is matter of minutes, and that to with those living in some distant corner of the globe. Someone, whose true identity you may never know, or then whose true identity is provided to you; very, very, very honestly. The bonds are based on instincts and feelings; and there is no urge for a physical proximity. There is trust with loyalty. The heart strings pull you hard, reminding you its time to log on because you got someone out there waiting for you…

All this and more is what online friendships provide you!

According to the internet experts the number of people stepping into chat rooms to find friends is increasing by the day. There are people of all ages, for their own reasons looking towards a friend in the distant lands, whom they can share the deepest secrets and actually offload the emotional load they carry. They feel they can trust the online friend far more than anyone else.

But is this a healthy trend? According to Sushma, a psychologist and psychotherapist, “I consider online friendships healthy, as long as one is in awareness that the person they are befriending may not really be the person they trust so much. See the thing is that we may honestly give our identity, but we can never know whether the person on the other side is being truthful. But then, I feel as long as one feels comfortable with the online companion it is fine. And one of the biggest advantages of such friendships is that people tend to vent out all their emotions, negative and positive, keeping away all inhibitions.”

What makes it easier for people to trust an online friend more than those who exist in flesh and blood? Sushma explains, “When you want to share your darkest secrets with some in flesh and blood in front of you, you tend to look towards them for their reactions. Or rather you fear their reactions. You are aware that as you speak the person across you is judging you. And then you start weighing your words. And there instead of pouring your heart out, it is still as heavy as ever. But when it comes to the online friendships, there is no one sitting in front of you listening with facial expressions and gestures. The net friend is a faceless sounding board that makes people very comfortable, without them actually realizing this.”

Sushma speaks about a case she handled where an online chat room helped a depressed thirty-year-old working woman to come out of her state of depression. “I had this client, who was very depressed and did not know what to do with her life. Nothing at all made her happy. She felt as if her entire world was falling apart. All her friends were settled and married. Her parents lived in a distant place and so she was living alone. Her relationships were not working out. I counseled her for long hours, but she did not seem to get out of her depression. I told her that the best thing for her was to begin networking with people and establishing an active social life. After this she disappeared. I met her two months later at a multiplex, and she was going alone for a movie. She was looking so happy. When I asked her how she was doing now she replied: ‘Great! And it is all thanks to the advice you gave me. I went back home and logged onto some friendship chat rooms and within a week I made friends with six to seven people around the world. It is so much of fun. We learn about each other’s cultures and I also got myself a great job, as suggested by a person I met online’. And she was looking very happy.”

Sushma further explains, “I feel that the entire concept of online friendship is therapeutic and exciting. And also, you never know when you make important contacts to forward your career.”

While all this seems so positive there are words of caution that the wise internet savvy and cyber crime watchers, would like to bring out to those into online communications. Vilas, a professional working in internet security, warns, “No doubt, internet friendships are exciting and a lot of fun. But one needs to be careful also. While making friends with anyone on the internet, do not reveal your personal identity in terms of your real name and contact information. Also do not forward your photograph to anyone. These encourage cyber crimes, and are the most difficult type of offence to solve. Sometimes people get so carried away by their newfound friendship that before they know it they have stalker or then their bank account is empty or credit card is busted.” Vilas continues, “As long as one plays it safe and by the rules, there is nothing to worry about. However, though there are chat rooms for children and teenagers, their interaction should be supervised by parents.”

But then, children and teenagers also want their privacy. Vilas explains, “We do not ask parents to invade into their children’s privacy. However, by supervision we mean they should be aware of whom their children are interacting with via the online friendship facilities. They should encourage their children to speak about the online friend. And keep reminding them about the need to avoid giving any contact information. There have been incidents of adults luring kids into giving their information and then kidnapping them, or calling them to secret places and sexually abusing them. These are few cases, but they do happen all the same. And safety precautions should be taken.” Scary, but point noted!

But then, if safety measures are kept in mind, then needless to say, but the World Wide Web has definitely made the social internet social scene a vibrant one!

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