1 in 4 Texans have made new friends online during the pandemic, survey finds

El Paso News

FILE – In this Oct. 29, 2019, file photo, smartphone apps are shown, in Miami, USA. Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office on Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020, released a new set of standards aimed at protecting children’s online personal details privacy for social media sites, games and other online services. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — One in four Texans made new friends online since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results from a recent survey by Freecell-Challenge, on online solitaire website, found 25 percent of Texans made an average of three new friends online using social media platforms like Bumble BFF, Twitter, Instagram or through online gaming.

The survey reports that 17 percent of Texans said they’ve felt lonely over the course of the last 18 months and have relied on virtual platforms to help ease their loneliness. 

Researchers who conducted the survey say that people tend to curate their online identities based on their interests, which means people are likely to encounter other users with similar interests. In fact, almost 20 percent of survey respondents reported getting along better with online friends compared to those in real life.

“Just because you haven’t met someone in person doesn’t mean you can’t form a bond with them,” says Neal Taparia of Freecell-Challenge. “Since so much of our lives have moved online these days, it’s easy to navigate. And those who play online games already have a reason to reach out and make friends.”

Online gamers who took the survey said part of the appeal are the relationships formed. One-third of survey respondents reported feeling as though they could turn to an online friend for support if they felt depressed. 

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