Need help now?

13 year old only has online friends

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

13 year old only has online friends


13 year old only has online friends

My son had many close friends in elementary school, but in 5th grade we moved and he started at a new school. Since then he has tried to make new friends but they have fizzled out. He has no good friends at school, they don’t hang out outside of school, or talk to each other outside of school. He has cried to me telling me he hates school cause his “friends” aren’t really his friends and they often ignore him. He has 2 online friends that he knows in real life from his old school. He spends hours laughing and playing games with them online. It’s the only place he feels any joy. He’s never been into sports, and hobbies have fallen away. He used to be a skateboarder but since that activity was very alone, he stopped doing it . Now his grades are slipping, he lies about doing assignments so he can get to his friends. I know he’s longing for connection, and feels sad a lot because he doesn’t find joy in anything besides online time, and going on trips with family.
I try to take the video games away or restrict them, but he just seems so depressed I get worried. He had bad anxiety as a child, and was in therapy for years. He refuses to go back to therapy, and as a nurse who works in mental health, I know if you don’t want to go, it won’t work. I’m at a loss, I don’t know how to help him.

Super frequent scribe

Re: 13 year old only has online friends

Message contains a hyperlink

Hi @Fergee77 

Thank you for sharing with us. It's really great to see how much you care about your son & are trying to find ways to support him. 


13 is such a confusing age and it's difficult for a lot of teens to find their people at that time, your son is definitely not alone. This article may help with some tips on other ways you could help him make more connections with friends.


Are you friends with any parents that also have kids in his school? It might be a good way for both of you to connect with the community, and may be less daunting for him if he knows you already have that link there. Do you think that could be an option?

Casual scribe

Re: 13 year old only has online friends

I'm so sorry. My son is the same - he's now going into year 12 and I just want him to be finished school. Have you tried something like Scouts, gaming clubs etc - something outside of school. Or does the school do lunchtime clubs? My son refused all these things and therapy too so I don't know what else to suggest. I hope things get better. What does the school say?
Super frequent scribe

Re: 13 year old only has online friends

Hi @Bronte2 


Thanks for sharing your experience with your son too. It's great to hear all the things you've tried with him already, it's clear you care about him a lot. How are you feeling about it all?


Has your son let you know why it is he doesn't enjoy socialising with his peers in person?



Moderator Hours

This forum is moderated from

09:00AM to 11:00PM

We are not a counselling or crisis service and we can't guarantee you'll get a reply, so if you need to talk now

Click here for help

The current time is Fri, 2:59 AM
(Australian Eastern time)