We won't be meeting in person. Exploring chatrooms with friends at a sleepover was the forbidden fruit of the '00s. But as we evolved to Instant Messenger, sstrangers message, then DM, we lost a strahgers element of the AOL experience: talking to strangers. Since the beginning of quarantine, I have found myself attempting to make friends in all corners of my digital reach, from my period-tracking app's message boards to the comment section of a YouTube video.
My time in isolation has given me a surprising confidence and curiosity in speaking with strangers because it feels like a safe space to be unapologetically honest. Facebook confirms there's been a burst of engagement on Groups, a prime location for strangers with overlapping interests to mingle.
Since the start of the pandemic, groups like Parenting Under Quarantine Law enforcement dating site from 25 members to over 28, members, and Solo Female Vanlifea once-small group for alternative travel now has over 26, women from diverse backgrounds and experiences chatting away.
And video chat apps like Omegle and Chatroulettewhich had seemingly gone extinct before the pandemic, have been maxed out with new traffic, too. So while your group chat might be more active than ever, people are also seeking social connection outside of their existing circles, even if they're not talking about it.
Psychotherapist Kate EckeL. The fact that we have a shared experience makes going into a conversation with someone we don't know immediately less ambiguous.
Sometimes these changes can be hard to talk about with people we are close with, and talking to strangers online allows us to explore these new sides of ourselves. According to family therapist Dawn FriedmanM.
Talking To Strangers Fights Loneliness Straners adds that she continues to hear from her clients on a regular basis that despite states opening back up and restrictions on social gatherings lifting, they are still feeling profoundly lonely. By opening up your social circle to the internet, you can curate the kinds of interactions you have.
While mental health experts agree that making friends online can serve as a crucial social supplement during this isolating time, it can also be a progressive way for people to get to know themselves better. Talking to new people with a veil of privacy allows people to explore parts of themselves that they might otherwise not be open to looking at. We won't be meeting in person," Friedman says, pointing to the security people get from knowing they won't have to look their new online friends in the eye.
Practice Safe Cyber Socializing Cybersecurity expert Kristina Podnar says there are risks that strangets with opening up online. Part of the reason why AOL chatrooms disappeared in the first place was because they were hard to moderate, Podnar explains. And while the traditional AOL chatroom model might not be able to compete against social media giants now, Podnar says people will continue to find ways to talk to strangers online.
But talking to people you don't know can lead to deceptive interactions, too. So as this behavior continues to trend, it's important to be aware of the risks. Podnar sgrangers to watch out for people who ask you for information about you or your family.
Podnar also says to be careful about sharing images or sexting with strangers, as blackmail is often used by strzngers, too. And there's also the threat of accidentally getting involved in a scam. It is important for users to understand that not everyone has good intentions in this context and to remain alert.
Ecke says socializing online is the antidote to loneliness beyond the pandemic.