If this means that I’m “less friendly online”, I guess.

In case some people have been under the impression that I might have changed my mind over the decades, or that “the right person” or “the right people” might make me change my mind on the matter: it’s as resolute as ever, and I’m as stubborn as ever. It doesn’t matter that it’s nearly 2022 and “nearly everyone is doing it”. I continue not to make it a point to meet up with people from the Internet because it’s not something that I am comfortable with, although I might make exceptions for certain people that I have known for more than a decade that I can count on one hand… at a later time in my life. Conventions like TwitchCon and VidCon — and yes, I mean actual conventions — might also be other exceptions once the pandemic is well and truly over, but a lot of that stems from my trust of how Twitch runs the majority of the services that they provide to people and the good things that I’ve continued to hear about VidCon, my refusal to attend a convention in the midst of any semblance of an active pandemic notwithstanding. If I don’t have to meet up with someone from the Internet in person — I mean, food and transportation services can be useful — it’s not something that I want to do right now. I exercise a lot of caution in that regard, and it’s something that I am not exceedingly comfortable with. (And of course, by that I mean “people who are not at all local to my own”.)

Growing up, the really good thing about my Internet usage was the limits that were placed on it that remained consistent — as a child, I was not allowed to give my full name to my friends at any point, and of those former “friends” who maliciously attempted to exploit real-life friends of mine to try to trick them into giving them more information on me than they were allowed to have, I was no longer permitted to speak to. As a minor, I wasn’t allowed to meet any Internet friends, and as long as the whole minor thing applied I wasn’t allowed to call them either. These were just things I knew better than to ask permission for. I feel like my parents took Internet safety as seriously as they should have and set age-appropriate limits for it, and that molded me into someone who became a lot more cautious about what I expected out of the Internet, even as an adult who was free to make my own decisions (and perhaps even parent differently there, too).

I may get into the “parenting decisions relating to the Internet” thing later to give that more space of its own.

Compared to my real-life peers and school friends, though, I was generally allowed to do less on the Internet while I was growing up. And like I’ve said, it’s not something that I’m frustrated about, mad about, or regret. I didn’t begin making friends online in abundance until I was an adult due to that, though (not even as an adolescent). Although I had friends online growing up, my interactions with them were generally curtailed.

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