While there are dangers with meeting people online, many find lasting friendships.

By Clare Driscoll ’19

According to the Pew Research center, 57 percent of teens aged 13 to 17 have met a friend online. Most teens have met people through social media such as Instagram or Facebook.

Though using the Internet to find companionship is becoming a common occurrence in society, there are many, like sophomore Laken Lee, that still feel it can be dangerous if precautions aren’t taken.

“Our generation is very technology-oriented and I can see how meeting friends online is faster and easier to facilitate, but it is also easier to act like someone you are not,” Lee said.

But there are others, like sophomore Audrey Molnar, who see the danger with meeting people online but, believe there are many benefits to meeting people on the internet.

“Meeting people online can be risky since you never really know who you’re talking to, but it creates the opportunity to connect with people who have the same interests as you which you may not find at school,” Molnar said.

Sophomore Bridget Reed has met friends online and believes that the Internet is a good way to find people with common interests as long as you are safe.

“I made a friend with someone on a forum about cats when I was around 10 and we kept our conversations mostly impersonal,” Reed said. “You should definitely be cautious sharing personal information with people over the Internet, but it’s also a great medium to make friends sometimes, especially for someone who may have trouble finding people similar to them in their town.”

Because of the wide range of people on the Internet, many can find people that they share common interests with through social media.

“I think people prefer to meet others online because it takes away the awkward first stage when people meet. I also think people enjoy the fact that they can talk to friends, meet people and have fun in the comfort of their own home,” senior James Russell said.

According to a study done by The Telegraph, 75 percent of teens prefer to talk to people online because it provides a sense of confidence that many teens do not have in face-to-face conversations.

When people rely on the internet to make friends, it can make communicating in real life harder.

“My generation is becoming too reliant on connecting online. Many in this generation will not have the skills to do face to face communication. Our grasp on these skills is ever-fading as we become too reliant on the internet,” Russell said.

According to the FBI, over 750,000 predators are online daily. Internet predators often use fake accounts portraying themselves as younger than they really are to gain somebody’s trust.

“Lots of people explore certain areas of the internet that shouldn’t be exposed to them and trust people they do not realize are trying to hurt them. They might get in trouble without realizing what they have done and when they do it’s too late to go back,” Lee said.

Though safety can be an issue, many believe that you should not let that inhibit you from meeting people online.

“People shouldn’t avoid making friends online because of a fear of being hurt. As long as you don’t share too much information meeting people online is a great option,” Molnar said