Online game friendships: why you should be cautious
Online game friendships have been around for ages as people who are shy and introverted often feel relaxed and easy within the virtual world of gaming. But the reality is not so smooth as there are predators hidden within the realm of the online world. At times people will befriend you not just for friendship but to take advantage of you in some way that can be harmful.
Online friendships are good but one needs to be careful to not lose themselves in the computer world and to keep in mind not to replace real-world friends with virtual ones.
Here are some of the Pros and Cons of Online Friendships:
Pros of Online Friendships:
- Friendships from different countries
Having friendships online means that you can make friends with people from all over the world. It does not matter which place you live in or what kind of work you do. You can have friends from all around the globe. You will come to know about a variety of facts including their cultures and lifestyle.
- Easy to express
Another major pro of online friendships is that it makes you learn a lot faster than usual. As people are generally more comfortable and find it easier to express themselves while being online. Being online provides them an easy way to express their opinions and share their thoughts without the fear of being judged.
- Comfortable Space
You can take your own time to reply to any conversation and can even stop talking to someone if you do not find it comfortable to resume the conversation anymore. The online world provides the necessary way to communicate with your friend but at the same time it doesn’t violate your personal space.
- Same Interests
Online friendships can be made between people who are playing the same game or have the same interests. Sharing ideas is easy and lots of productive ideas can be shared between friends online.
- Friendship based on personality
Friendship is based not on looks but is based on the personality of the person you have befriended. Friendships based on personality last longer than friendships based on appearence.
Cons of Online Friendships
The absence of physical presence can cause misunderstandings as lack of body language and emotions can create serious problems with your gaming friends.
Online game friendships call for clear communication as unclear communications can cause major misunderstandings and errors within the friendship. Miscommunication is more popular for breaking friendship bonds than for any other reason.
- An online friend can disappear overnight
You do not have the reassurance that your online friend will stay with you. Your online friend can leave at any time and without telling you. There is no social security that the person will keep in contact with you, after leaving the virtual world or not.
One always has to keep his guard up and be vigilant around online friends as friendship is all about trust and sharing. You have to be careful with how much information you provide to your online friends. You never know who is actually behind your profile. Keep sensitive info to yourself – often, scammers take their time to pretend to be your friend, earn your trust and collect enough details about you which they will later use for fraud.
- Long Distance
A major con of online friendships is that they are usually long-distance-based and you cannot travel to meet your friends. You may have to wait months and maybe years to travel to a specific place in order to meet your online game friend. Many times, you can just share comments online without being able to meet offline.
One may get too addicted to their phones or computers in order to communicate or play games with their online friends. This can cause them to lose touch with reality and it is not a healthy way of living. It can cause negligence in taking care of one’s physical and mental health.
Things To Watch Out For
- Something is not right:
If you feel that something is not right, you should check into it. Always trust your gut feeling and follow it.
- Things that do not add up:
The information that your friend provided is not matching with what they are doing and how they are portraying themselves online. If you have their full name or phone number, use Nuwber to check if they are actually real people and don’t pretend to be someone else to scam you.
- Their Webcam is not available:
Many times an online person will try to befriend you to get something out of you or to harm you. They will say that their webcam is broken and is not available. Be alarmed if a person always finds excuses not to show themselves.
- They ask for more information about your family:
They start collecting information about your family and your surroundings. Try to get personal information out of you through different questions. Remember to never reveal sensitive details.
- They insist on meeting:
They keep on talking about meeting in person and try to make you feel bad if you say no to them. Make you feel like it is utterly important for them to meet you.
If they want their friendship in-game to stay between you and them only and they do not find it comfortable to tell other people about you to the people out of the virtual world.
If your online friend is making you uncomfortable and unsafe and you feel like there is something wrong, there is always help available. Follow these simple steps to keep yourself safe and stay vigilant.
- Collect Evidence:
Collect evidence of what an online friend is doing wrong, take screenshots and then block the specific person.
- Report to police:
Contact the police and give them a full report if the friend is turning into an abusive person. For example, you can report the crime anonymously on crime stoppers.
- Get help:
Get help and support urgently. Contact the helpline for kids.