A True Story
“I didn’t have the Internet at home, so when I moved out and got an Internet connection in the bedsit I rented, I was really excited. All the secondary schools in my area had a joint website. As well as getting information about the school and about classes, we could meet and chat with other students online.
One evening a boy in another secondary school sent me a message. I was a bit unsure, but I sent a reply, and very soon we were sending messages backwards and forwards all the time. He was really funny and we seemed to have so much in common. It didn’t take long before we were sharing all our secrets and private thoughts with each other.
This boy, Mark, lived about 40 miles away, so it wasn’t easy to meet up, but after a month of writing to each other, we were eager to see each other. So we arranged to meet at a café half way between out two houses. I was really excited and hardly slept at all the night before.
The next day I met up at the café exactly on time and there was Mark waiting for me. My first reaction was good. He was tall and dark with big brown eyes. But unfortunately it all went downhill from there. We just had nothing in common when we met in person. We didn’t have the same sense of humour. There was just no chemistry. It was nothing like what it promised to be when we talked online.
Afterwards, I was a bit embarrassed that I told him, a stranger, so much personal stuff about me and my family. It also made me think a bit more about how people can appear very different online than they do when we meet them face to face.
I am going to be much more cautious about getting close to people online in the future. I think nothing can replace meeting and making friends in the real world.”
(Helen, 17 years, Belfast, Northern Ireland)