Alex's Answer

Making online friends

Your Question

Making online friends

Answer

Hi there, welcome to Ask Alex!
 
It’s great that you’re looking to make new friends online. Many people find wonderful friendships through the internet. Let’s talk about how you can do this safely and enjoyably.
 
First, think about your interests. Are you into gaming, books, art, or something else? Joining online groups or forums related to these interests can be a great way to meet like-minded people. Social media platforms, gaming communities, and hobby-specific websites are good places to start. Remember to always be yourself and be respectful to others, as genuine connections come from being authentic and kind.
 
It’s important to use age-appropriate platforms, forums, and websites when making online friends. These platforms often have age restrictions in place to protect young users from content that may not be suitable for their age group. By sticking to platforms designed for your age range, you’re more likely to come across people who share similar experiences and interests, fostering safer and more meaningful friendships.
 
However, it’s essential to stay safe while making online friends. Never share personal information such as your home address, phone number, or school name. Be cautious if someone asks for private details or wants to meet in person. Trust your instincts—if something feels off, it’s ok to distance yourself or block the person. Use privacy settings on your profiles to control who can see your information.
 
Another key aspect of online safety is understanding that not everyone is who they say they are. Sometimes people create fake profiles. If someone you’ve met online asks for inappropriate photos or makes you uncomfortable, stop communicating with them and report the behaviour. It’s also a good idea to talk to a trusted adult about your online interactions.
 
If you come across something upsetting or inappropriate while interacting online, it’s essential to talk to a trusted person about it. This could be a parent, guardian, teacher, or another responsible adult who can offer support and guidance. Remember, it’s not your fault if you encounter upsetting content, and asking for help is a proactive step towards addressing the situation and protecting yourself and others from harm. Your well-being is important, and there are people who care about you and want to help you through challenging situations.
 
Remember, you’re never alone in this. If you ever feel unsure or need someone to talk to, you can always reach out to us at Childline by freephone at 1800 66 66 66 or through Messenger at www.childline.ie (just click on the purple chat icon). We are confidential, non-judgmental, open 24/7, and always here for you for any reason, at any time.
 
Take care of yourself and happy chatting!
Alex

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