Messaging apps and social networks affect how people relate and form friendships, observed Dr. Antonio Montiel, a noted family counselor, at a recent Paraguay conference in commemoration of International Friendship Day, observed each year on July 30.
The July 28 virtual conference, “The Value of Friendship in a Digital Context,” was one of a series of events and talks hosted by the Women’s division of Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Paraguay. The conference on digital friendship attempted to balance the pros and cons of a cyber environment in supporting friendships.
Dr. Montiel said that social networks keep people connected virtually regardless of physical distance, provide new information, and a platform to share ideas, experiences, and opinions. But these platforms can be misused and dominate our time. True friends are not the ones who simply ‘like’ one’s posts but the ones who truly know you, want the best for you and do not act in self-interest, he said.
Calling friendship is a universal moral support and one of the pillars that sustains society, Dr. Montiel said, “We have to invest in real friends, just as we have to invest in ourselves and our families.”
Friendship and peace
The Women’s division also distributed a message to its national and foreign contacts affirming that friendship between people, countries and cultures presents an opportunity to build bridges between communities and to inspire peace initiatives.
Despite the many challenges and crises that threaten peace, security, development and social harmony, the message said, cultivating friendship and strengthening trust can contribute to the fundamental and necessary changes to achieve lasting stability. Friendships weave a network of social support that protects us all and generate passion for achieving a better world, all united for the common good.
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