A paper for Writing 101 on the effects of technology and social networking sites on teens growing up in today’s society.
The Effects of Technology and Social Networking Sites
Does the technology of today have a positive or negative effect on teens growing up with it? In today’s world, it can be said that people have more opportunity to meet others over the internet than they do in person. In her article “Meet My 5,000 New Best Pals” Janet Kornblum writes, “Call it a hobby. Call it an obsession. Call it the new way of socializing in the networked world.”(Kornblum 160) The internet is now the primary way many people meet others. This can be looked at from both positive and negative perspectives. Websites like Myspace and Facebook allow anyone to make a personal “profile” or web page for him or herself, displaying general information about them, allowing them to post blogs, and even allowing them to update their status or mood at any time. These social networking sites are a relatively new trend, having a population mostly made up of college and high school students. The online world has changed the way many teens grow up and live today, this change has both good and bad perspectives.
If you stood in one place on a college campus and asked every student who walked by if they had a Facebook or Myspace, according to Science Daily’s website, four out of five would claim to have a Facebook page, and around 54% would admit to having a Myspace page.(Northwest University) These astronomical numbers easily project the idea that everybody has a Facebook, and if you do not you are different in some way. Those without an online profile might be considered “uncool” by others because they do not socialize online or have an online life like everybody else.
Being a new college student myself, I do have a Facebook page, but do not find it a necessity for any reason. If I needed to, I could stop using Facebook at anytime with no direct negative effects. Others I know might go crazy not being able to have a Facebook page, primarily because it is how they keep in touch with many of their friends. In a way, Facebook helps people stay in touch who might otherwise have no contact. I have a couple friends going to school in different states thousands of miles away who I can keep in touch with primarily using Facebook’s instant messaging feature. Others are taking it to an even higher level, using programs like Skype, which allow you to make free video chat phone calls over the internet using a webcam. People who have a girlfriend or boyfriend going to school in a different state, probably like being able to see the person while they talk to them, rather than just hear their voice or read their messages. All of these sites and programs can make technology beneficial for young adults in many different ways.
The opposite view on the subject would be that teens these days are too connected, using the internet more than necessary, and not getting the personal experiences that are important in friendship building. Can two people really get to know each other and become good friends using strictly online interaction? Some people claim they have done this and it is very possible, while others argue that a digital friendship can never be as strong as a face-to-face one. The convenience of these social networking sites is one thing that makes them so popular. You can be sitting at your desk in your room talking to five people from three different states all at once, something not possible with strictly face-to-face interaction.
Technology, in a way, is a purely positive experience for most college students. Almost everyone I know my own age experiences the “endless stream of daily documentation that is built into the life of anyone growing up today.”( Nussbaum) For the most part, my peers and I are using these new technologies to talk to others, occasionally meet new people, and check up on friends you might not see on a regular basis. Online networking can really help long distance friendships stay strong while two people are apart. These interactions can also help people who are typically shy at first get to know a person better and become comfortable with them. As long as a person is not running their life off social networking sites and has a good balance of personal and online interactions, than for the most part this new technology is strictly beneficial.
Kornblum, Janet. “Meet My 5,000 New Best Pals”. Reading and Writing about Popular Culture. Ed. John Alberti. Boston: Houghton Mifftin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2009. 159-164. Print.
Northwestern University. “Student Facebook, MySpace Use Predicted By Race, Ethnicity, Education.” ScienceDaily, 22 November 2007. 21 October 2009 .
Nussbaum, Emily. “Say Everything.” New York Magazine. New York Magazine, 12 Feb. 2007. Web. 2 November 2009.