Hey guys. I'm creating this topic as I have finally decided that I will be leaving my computer for quite some time to pursue college, my life passions (that are mostly offline), and real life relationships.
I am 18 years old and am turning 19 this April; very soon. I started actively logging online at age 12, most memorably on Runescape. I don't recall really getting into YouTube until age 13 or so and that is when I got involved with the social part of YouTube back during streams and channel roleplaying and classic channels, animated backgrounds and icons, etc. Old YouTube. I've logged online quite actively for extended periods of time during these 7 years (technically writing, 6 years and 11 months). My fond memories from this experience would not really be anything specific but overall. I am fond of my overall experience online. Of Runescape to the fond memories I made in World of Warcraft. Of my young, creative mind at work on YouTube for roleplays to more recently, Anivide. Of my years spent making relationships with others as well as, of course, my own pain spent in exchange for others' who I care about's happiness as their problems aren't exactly anxiety-free, 'wave my magic wand and it's all good,' kind of deals but it was worth it. I've brought smiles to many faces during my years and I'm happy for that.
What I have learned from my 7 years of experience online would have to be what most would first think on. That there will be the mean people and the very sketchy/creepy people. There's a lot of those who actively navigate the internet. But in the darkness, of course, there is a light. It would be wise for one to, of course, use caution. No personal home or mailing addresses and no phone numbers. Make sure to have antivirus programs. Yes, it is impossible to technically prove one is who they say/write that they are online (at least with technology today that I'm aware of). One would of have to of met IRL first and have an IRL friendship for awhile. Yes, people can wear masks IRL and online. But online, that mask is stronger. Exercise caution and restraint. If you desire a personal relationship online, have patience. (: Revel in the positivity with the other person for a good while. Heck, I'd suggest a year. Why so long? Unfortunately, there are people who would spend a great deal of their time if they feel that you are worth it (take the compliment (;) to manipulate you into believing they are genuinely pure. It is the same advice I would give to one who had met someone online and had fallen in love with them in a week or two. If you and the other's feelings are true for each other, patience will not be a problem and you two will easily be able to revel in shared positivity's until you two both feel the time is right to share more personal information such as contact information. Please, be very careful and patient. I really would not recommend even a month as you still tread in deep and dark waters during this time with a relationship with an internet stranger, no matter what they show you. Wait, I'd say, 3 months time until contact information is shared. Even then the waters are deep, but they are less dark. No matter how corrupt a person may be, if one wants something out of another (which in this case would be for something like greed, lust, or wrath), they would spend only so much of their time and energy with you as there are many other fish in the sea for them to pick. And during this first time period with them, keep a close eye on their behavioral patterns. To keep things as stressless, concern-free, and anxiety-free as possible, try not to get too personal with someone even with sharing non-contact information. If you cannot be content with someone just to be content with simple things like roleplaying with them and playing video games with them for example, then I'd suggest you think about that as a potential personal problem as it may be.
The greatest thing that I have learned is that one must always keep an open mind and an open heart, offline and online. One cannot disregard anything. Even the sketchy/creepy people. It is the negativities -and- positivity's that enlighten us and make us stronger in all aspects of our being: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually while at the same time, it is also important to exercise caution, restraint, and patience.
As far as personal relationships go, the naysayers are absolutely correct to suggest caution as aforementioned. Although even for the sketchiest of people, I feel, after having such a long and meaningful relationship with a very small few people (for me), to read such certain words they've written to me over the years, I believe that, let's say they are not who they say they are just for the sake of point and example, that at some point in such a relationship with such certain words and art (imagery, music, etc) shared, that genuinely pure emotion must have been felt in the seemingly sketchy person for the relationship at some point even if it was later put aside by them. Take Discord from My Little Pony for example. In season 3, he **SPOILER ALERT**, [spoiler in brackets| ultimately ends up being reformed. His character was supposedly the 'Spirit of Chaos,' and it is, but in the end, he realized his feelings for friendship and was mostly purified but definitely changed for the better.]]]] **SPOILER END**
What feelings are felt, the thoughts, the words said and written, it must never be disregarded. It must always be taken to heart and learned from. If one, let's say, were to fall to murder. That isn't absolutely wrong (I'm dissecting the word 'wrong' here for its meanings). Yes, it goes against our morals and it is very sad that they would choose to do such a thing to another. But does that automatically make every fiber of their being wrong? Their whole existence wrong? Yes, this applies even to Adolf Hitler for example. I defend him in this manner. He ended many lives, yes. But does that give us the right to pass such hard and total judgement and then disregard his entire existence? No. At least one thing to smile at is that we have learned from his mistakes. I do not believe that a person can ever be wrong no matter what it is that they do in their life. People make mistakes for either themselves to grow on for good and or for us to grow on ourselves from our observance of their mistakes. It is their choices that can be not quite right. I actually do not like the word "wrong." It is an absolute and to state absolutes is narrow-minded and narrow-hearted, although less severe in some cases but I still stick with the "narrow" words. "Pessimism enlightens me and challenges my thoughts to further sharpen my knowledge on what must be done on optimism's side to take action against the darkness in this world." "Without pessimism, I would not have the knowledge to fight. Without optimism, I would not have a sword." -Philosophies of my making from personal observance, insights, and experience
I hope you all have been enlightened on a thing or two or at least smiled at what is already known and clarified here. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. I'll try my best to answer sincerely with utmost effort to answer your question(s) in the best way that I can. Feel free, of course, to elaborate on your own personal wisdom(s) and insight(s) gained from experience online. It's all welcomed and appreciated. Thank you for taking your time to read this. (: