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What to Do About a Daughter Whose Only Friends are Online Gamers


My 12-year-old daughter has struggled with making friends her whole life. I've put her in camps, activities, sports and clubs. She just goes through the motions, but never bothers to try to make friends.

She has finally made some friendships on her own, but unfortunately they’re with online gamers who live in other states. Safety is not an issue, however, I don't feel like she is getting the same level of companionship that she would if she had "real-life" friends. Should I support these online friendships, or cut them off and force her to make other friends?



Encouraging your daughter to develop friendships is very healthy. If she is more reserved and comfortable doing things alone, she will likely choose to not take the risk involved in making friends. To lose out on this part of her development at age 12 through adolescence will make it difficult for her to develop these skills as an adult.

Making online friends is not as significant of a relationship as a friend she would invite over or see at school. However, it gives her a chance to practice her social skills in a less threatening environment. In time, she can use those skills to make friends at school or in the neighborhood.

Setting up play dates is healthy. Or you could encourage her to give someone a call, and suggest group activities around an activity in which she has an interest. Micromanaging would be getting involved in picking her friends or a group for her.

She is welcome to e-mail us or join our online chat for kids so ​she can work on her social skills. She can find it at Click on the option labeled “three ways to help.”