What’s wrong with making friends online?
In what way do you prefer to communicate?
□ Face to face
□ By phone
□ By computer
With whom do you find it easier to converse?
□ With your classmates
□ With your family
□ With the Christian brothers
Where do you feel most comfortable to talk?
□ At school
□ In your house
□ At congregation meetings
HOW did you answer the first question? Are you one of those who prefer to communicate by computer and not face to face? Well, you’re not the only one. There are many young people who make friends online. “It’s great. I can meet people from any part of the world that I would never otherwise know, “explains a young woman named Elena. Tammy, 19, indicates another Internet appeal: “I can control the opinion others have of me. It’s different when you’re face to face: if you do not fit into the group, there’s nothing to do. “
Let’s go back to the questions. What did you answer the other two? Do not be surprised if you discover that it is easier for you to talk with your classmates at school than with other Christians at congregation meetings. “In class it is easier to find people who are going through the same thing as you,” says Jasmine, 18 years old. And that makes you feel much more comfortable with them. “
So, it is normal that you like to chat with your colleagues. Tammy acknowledges that she also did it for a while: “Everyone connected to talk, and I did not want to be the exception.” * Natalie, 20, created a website to keep in touch with her friends. “Technology does not stop,” he says. New ways of communicating appear every time. This is just one of them, and I like it. “
Do not overlook the dangers
It is clear that for some it is easier to make friends over the Internet. “The Network gives you a confidence in yourself that you would never otherwise have,” says Natalie. Tammy agrees with her: “The Internet is ideal for those of us who are shy. It allows you to think what you are going to say. “
However, not everything is rosy. There are also dangers, and it would be imprudent to overlook them. Is it true that you would never dream of walking through a dangerous neighborhood with your eyes blindfolded? Well, it would not be logical to “walk” on the Internet without being aware of the dangers.
Think, for example, of the risks of making friends on the Internet. “It’s more than likely that you meet people without scruples,” says Elena, who liked to chat with other people even if she did not know them. And he adds: “Sometimes, in a matter of minutes there are people who make you obscene comments or ask you if you are a virgin, if you practice oral sex, or things like that. Some even propose to have cybersex! “.
“Yes, well, but I chat with trusted people,” you may say. Even in that case you should be careful. “It’s not good to spend many hours talking to someone of the opposite sex, no matter how friendly you are,” Julieta says. The more time you spend chatting, the closer friendship becomes and the more likely it is that the conversation becomes too intimate. “
“Those who hide what they are”
King David knew very well how dangerous it was to relate to the wrong people. On one occasion he wrote: “I have not sat with men of falsehood; nor do I enter with those who hide what they are “( Psalm 26: 4 ).
Have you ever found yourself on the Internet with the kind of people David talked about? Why do you think some netizens “hide what they are”? …..
Now, could you be “those who hide what they are”? Maybe you do the same as Abigail when she entered the chats. “He used to show me as a totally different person to fit into the conversation,” he confesses.
A girl named Leonor also resorted to deception, but in a different way. “A boy from a neighboring congregation and I wrote to each other,” she says. Soon we were already telling ourselves what we felt for each other. When my parents passed by, I minimized the screen window so they would not know what I was doing. I do not think it ever occurred to them that their 13-year-old daughter could be writing love poems to a boy of 14. “
Of course, we can not deny that the Internet is a very useful tool. Many people – including adults – use the Web to keep in touch with their friends. If you also browse cyberspace, what precautions should you take? Let’s see some.
● Control the time you spend online and do not sacrifice more important things, like sleeping. “Some colleagues say they stay connected to the Internet until three in the morning,” explains a teenager named Brian ( Ephesians 5:15, 16 ).
● Communicate only with people you know or with those whose identity you can check. There are many undesirable individuals who surf the Net in search of naive young people to take advantage of them ( Romans 16:18 ).
● If you make a commercial transaction, be very careful. Think about it very well before giving your personal information. Otherwise, you could be a victim of fraud … or something much worse ( Matthew 10:16 ).
● Before sending a picture of yourself to your friends, ask yourself if it is worthy of a servant of God ( Titus 2: 7, 8 ).
● Act as if you were talking face to face. If an online conversation turns to “things that are not decorous,” end it immediately ( Ephesians 5: 3, 4 ).
● Never hide what you do on the Internet. If you are one of “those who hide what they are” from their parents, something is wrong. “I am totally honest with my mother,” says a teenager named Kari. I always show him what I am doing on the Internet. “( Hebrews 13:18 .)
“The wait is worth it”
It is normal that you want to have friends. Human beings were created to enjoy the company of others ( Genesis 2:18 ). So it is clear that this need is part of your nature. But remember that you must be careful when choosing your friends.
You can be sure that if you follow the guidelines of the Word of God, you will find the best kind of friendships. As a 15-year-old girl said: “It’s hard to find friends who love Jehovah and who also love you. But when you find them, you realize that it’s worth waiting for. “