Why having virtual friends isn’t much better than having imaginary friends

Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

God I’m getting old. I have to admit I still feel and have the attitude of a 25 year-old but I’m well past middle age. The signs have been there for a while: the increase in wrinkles around my eyes when I smile, the receding hairline, thinning hair and the fact that all the CDs I like are under £5.

But in other ways I’m still the oldest swinger in Manchester. I listen to new bands from around Greater Manchester, I’m still hip(-pish) to the scene, know who’s doing what in music, and I’m still recognisable to people over the age of 35, which is a triumph of sorts (or perhaps thanks to an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother).

At my grizzled age, I should be looking out of the window with concern at kids playing football in the street in case their ball hits my car, getting all Victor Meldrew about other kids volleying various top quality footballs into my expensive bushes in my back garden, or freaking out because some one’s partially parked in front of my drive.

Yet all I’m concerned about is my crumbling vanity and the fact that I no longer get flirty looks from barmaids or served before other blokes. I took that for granted for years.

At least I’m grateful that I have the benefits of modern technology. Back in the day, fading eyesight meant ever thicker glasses but nowadays I can just buy bigger televisions.

On a more positive note, I do find growing old easy. All you’ve got to do is not die. The hard part is growing up. I’d write more but now I need to stop and absolutely must beat my lads in a round robin tournament on FIFA Playstation (3 or 4 – I’ve no idea).

Playing virtual football isn’t going to make you fit, nor is having virtual friends going to teach you to interact properly with people and society. In many ways it devalues the word friend. I mean in the olden days, to be someone’s friend as a minimum requirement you would have at least met them. Likewise, social networking sites like facebook have twisted the word social.

“Oh yes, he’s got lots of friends and is very sociable.”

“Er, so why does he stare at the floor and refuse to make eye contact whenever anyone comes in the room”

I’m not sure that having virtual friends is one step up or one step down from having imaginary friends. I mean at least imaginary friends aren’t going to start telling you it was the CIA and the Jews that blew up the twin towers on 9/11.

The blogosphere is full of bores, conspiracy theorists and mad ranters. It has acted as some sort of bacterial culture for the green ink brigade to prosper.

Add in the fact that it can be dangerous. It allows the unscrupulous to masquerade as something they are not – and that can take in everything from trivial boasting to grooming of kids.

So this Easter my advice is talk to real people, play real games and, believe me, there will never be such a thing as virtual sex – not even (or especially) at my age.


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