Friends

Written by Jo Langford, M.A.

Many people have a combination of friends they spend time with in-person, and friends they have online. Read below to learn some important tips and tools to support healthy friendships both on and offline.

Social Media
  • Have a litmus test for whom you friend and follow.
  • Shared experiences — including online ones — are good for helping people connect.
  • The more you use social media to make others feel included and empowered, the more it will help you do the same.
  • Unfriend/unfollow/block people who make you uncomfortable — on most platforms the blocked or unfriended individuals don’t get a notification that you did so.
  • Think before you post and consider your intentions and how your post will impact the feelings of others.
Screen Time
  • Don’t make it easier for Non-Player Characters (NPC’s) to connect with you than your actual friends.
  • The more time you spend in front of a screen, the easier it is for your social skills and manners to atrophy or weaken.
  • Messaging and online chatting can make it easier to talk about heavier, more personal topics. Be cautious who you share information with. Assume that anything you share on social media can be shared with everyone including teachers, grandparents, police, or classmates.
Gaming
  • Online multiplayer games have been shown to promote social interaction and friendships.
  • Video games can be a safe place to experiment with social interactions, especially for people who are shy or socially anxious.
  • Work to make your gaming interactions as positive as possible: no hate speech, misogyny, racist, or phobic statements.