With the growing popularity of online social networking sites, many teens are creating new virtual friends. Reasons for creating a virtual friend online vary. Some teens may just want to meet kids from different countries or backgrounds while others want to pass the time. Unlike normal virtual pets or even some types of virtual boyfriends, a virtual friend is normally a real live person.
What Is a Virtual Friend?
While a virtual friend can be someone you create online, usually a virtual friend is a real person with whom you talk to or play games with over the Internet. You can't really create a virtual friend like this in the same way as a Chatbot-based virtual friend. When trying to find a virtual friend that is a real person, it's best to go about it like you would when making a new friend in real life. Talk to them about their interests, school, music, things you would normally talk about with your friends. There are many kinds of social networking sites set up for teenagers to safely make online virtual friends.
Finding Virtual Friends
When creating virtual friends, you want to look for websites and apps that are interactive and reciprocal because these work to promote mutual friendships. One great place to check is social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. If you are a gamer, you might connect with friends through Discord or another chatting software. Another place that you might try to create virtual friends is through online chat rooms and community apps like Amino. These online sites can help you to find virtual friends that are interested in the same games, activities or music that you are.
Techniques for Creating Virtual Friends
Finding friends online is easier than you think if you know what to look for. Explore some simple techniques for making friends online:
- Explore other people's profiles (age, location, etc.)
- Look for teens that are interested in the same things as you. Maybe they like the same bands or play similar online games. Connecting over your interests is the key to making worthwhile relationships.
- Join groups or communities that tailor to your interests. Facebook and Amino offer groups that can tailor to your unique love of art, movies, sports, etc.
- Start groups or communities about your interests.
- Play games online. This can help you find friends that like your favorite video or online game.
Starting Conversations With Virtual Friends
The virtual world doesn't give you the same opportunity to walk up to someone and say, "Hey, how are you?" However, that doesn't mean that you can't have meaningful online conversations. The online platform just takes a different route. Here are some different ways to get started:
- On social media, you can add the person as a friend and start chatting with them or comment on a post. This can help you to get to know one another.
- In a group or chat room, join a conversation that you find interesting. You might find that several virtual friends want to connect with you.
- Friend a person that you enjoy playing online games with and send them a message. This can help to start a conversation outside of the game.
- Chat with people via messenger or voice chat while you are playing a game.
- Comment on a photograph or other visual that sparks your interest. Tell the person how much you enjoy it and how you are interested in the same thing.
Tips for Making Virtual Friends
The virtual world is vast and has lots of opportunities to make exciting and new friendships. While you can go looking for virtual friends, there are ways that you can draw them to you as well.
- Create a profile that highlights your hobbies and interests.
- Usernames that are unique or spark interest might draw more friends.
- Use the same username across multiple platforms.
- Express your openness to making new friends through your 'About Me' page.
- Actively get involved in online discussions, sharing your opinion.
- Adding a personal message with a friend request to show you're not a spambot.
Things to be Careful About When You Create a Virtual Friend
As always, when you are online, never give out any of your personal information to anyone, especially someone that you do not know in your real life. To keep you and your virtual friend safe, avoid talking about personal information such as your location, real name, address, and phone number.
Apps for Creating Virtual Friends
Real people are fun, but creating an AI friend can also add an interesting dynamic to virtual friends. This can be a fun game when you are bored or just need someone to talk to when all your friends are offline.
Whether you need love help or are looking to test out your new jokes, Robotstudios offers a bunch of online bots that can become your new best friend. Offered for free to download, these different bots can just talk to you about life or become your virtual boyfriend.
For 12+, Replika is available through iTunes and Google Play for free. This online virtual friend app lets teens chat with an online bot about things that make them anxious or down. Replika will learn with you while teaching coping mechanisms.
Chat With Annabel
If you are feeling lonely, try to chat with Annabel. This online bot can talk to you about your day through messages on your phone. Available for free, you can download this on to your Android products.
Sites Where You Can Make Virtual Friends
If you have decided that making a virtual friend would be a fun experience, or if you would like to talk to people from other countries, then you'll want to find a good site for your types of interests. Sites, where you can chat with new people, are everywhere on the internet; ask your parents or teachers to help you find an educational chat room tailored to you.