Social development of today’s adolescents depends a great deal upon online friends and traditional friends. “You will notice she is not being who she is, either. Part of the fun on the phone is, you can be who you are, pretend what you like most, especially when you don’t know each other” (Connelly, 2011). This suggests adolescents tend to become less honest with online friends since they don’t know each other. And if such proclivity is later applied to traditional friends, their social development would be tarnished. However, it is felt that majority of the adolescents today would likely find the internet a great source of online friendships of all kinds that would add to their understanding and broaden their perspectives of the real and virtual world surrounding them, thus playing a subtle yet important role in their social development.
It seems that online friendships have a peculiar aura surrounding today’s adolescent – secretiveness and indulgence - seems to prevail and might be considered the major difference from traditional friendships that are more open and less prone to problematic outcome as it pertains to the pursuit of love and romance. Perhaps, the only similarity between online and traditional friendships is that both friendships are made of real humans except that the communication tool is digital and natural for online and traditional friends respectively. - “Our online interactions, with people across the world, are often more numerous and more suited to our own interests than their real life counterparts. Yet a sense of awkwardness pervades” (Harrington, 2011). It can then be drawn that, as interests, hobbies etc., are exchanged and feelings, emotions etc., are expressed via digital means with online friends, adolescents are unwittingly participating in interpersonal skills and respecting diverse viewpoints with friends in the cyber environment except that these activities tend to be secretive and awkward.