I love the internet, especially Facebook. I use it stay in touch with friends and family, and to look for cool pages. This had me thinking about other ways to use Facebook, like making new friends. Here’s some of the ways I found new friends on Facebook.
- Look for closed Facebook groups that discuss topics that matter to you.
- Look for people around your age with similar interests.
- Check to make sure they are who they are.
- Send a message to talk about things you both love.
That’s how I met my bestie Aphiwe. I met her on a girls-only group about computer coding. Our friendship has made me realise that social media can be a great way to meet people. For instance, even though I have lots of friends at school and at home, they’re not interested in coding. This is how websites and Apps are created. Aphiwe loves coding.
I want to learn how to build websites; she helped me find an organisation called Code4CT in my neighbourhood, Khayelitsha. It’s for girls in grades 10 to 12, and it’s free. If you get into the programme you go on a bootcamp, followed by coding classes.
Being online is like real life; you need to be considerate of each other’s feelings. You also need to put safety first. When you click with someone, ask mutual online friends about them, and do some research to see if the connection isn’t fake. There are many great people online, but not everyone has good intentions. And never reveal personal information that can be used to compromise your safety and privacy.
All friendships need to be taken care off. Aphiwe and I treat each other like we would in real life. Our personal stories remain between us instead of turning into status updates.
There should also be boundaries. I wouldn’t be friends with an older guy in real life, so I won’t be friends with one online. Online connections have an impact on us. I want it to be a positive influence in my life, like making friends with like-minded girls, and supporting and encouraging each other.