With the growing popularity of online social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, and the popularity of virtual pets like Webkinz and Neopets, many teens like to create a virtual friend online. Reasons for creating a virtual friend online vary, some teens may just want to talk to new people online from many other countries, or just from different social backgrounds, while some people looking to create a virtual friend may just want a fun way to pass the time. Unlike normal virtual pets or even some types of virtual boyfriends, a virtual friend is normally a real live person, using either an avatar or computer game character to communicate with your avatar or computer program. Chat rooms can be a good way to meet new virtual friends online.
What Is a Virtual Friend
A virtual friend can be one of two things, the first type of virtual friend is more like a virtual pet; you create the type of friend you want, right down to hair color and clothes. Games where you can make a virtual friend are very popular with kids and teenagers, most of these games use a program commonly referred to as a "Chatbot" program to let your "friend" talk to you via instant messages or prompts. The Chatbot program recognizes the text that you input into it and gives a reply based on what responses are programmed into it. While it's no substitute for real human interaction, a Chatbot based virtual friend is a fun way to pass the time.
The other kind of virtual friend is actually 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.
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, phone number, or even your Facebook or Myspace page which may have this kind of information on it.
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. You can join a chartroom, or an online virtual world, like Habbo Hotel, where you create and control your own avatar and do activities such as dress your avatar up, or play games with other members of Habbo Hotel. Sites where you can chat with new people are everywhere on the internet; ask your parents or teachers to help you find an educational chatroom.