Munn, N., & Weijers, D. M. (2021). Good friendships improve our lives. But can virtual friendships be good? Presented at the 14th International Conference on ICT, Society and Human Beings.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14486
Good friendships improve our lives. But philosophers, psychologists, and other social scientists disagree about the nature of friendship and the value of virtual friendships. Recent technological advances and global crises highlight the importance of answering the question: can virtual friendships be good? We argue against accounts of friendship that suggest virtual relationships are necessarily deficient, focusing on rejecting the requirements of physical proximity and complete authenticity for friendship. We propose a more inclusive account of friendship that focusses on positive intentions and experiences. We also discuss examples of virtual friendships that highlight their advantages in modern times, especially their ability to promote intercultural cohesion. Finally, we suggest implications to help guide individual and collective decisions about friendship in a way that improves wellbeing.
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