Youth engaged in their communities claim that face-to-face interactions is what motivates them to make a difference in the world.
This is a two-part article gleaned from reviewing the essays of a class of tenth graders, with their permission, of course.
It is meant to generate additional discussion on the benefits and disadvantages of social networking and its effect on healthy youth development.
Below are the most discussed disadvantages of social networking according to these tenth graders, including quotes from their essays.
In a similar format, you can also read reflections on the benefits of social networking in my column at “A couple weeks ago, one of my friends and I got into a fight and she told me all of her feelings as to why she ignored me for two weeks.
We post pictures of us looking perfect and share the good news.
We never post pictures of ourselves when our dog dies, when someone we love leaves, and when we lose a job.
We never share the bad news that always clouds our lives.
We all develop this perfect image of ourselves and some of us actually try to rely on this imaginative thought we have of ourselves instead of staying true to who we are.” “Texting, Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail alienate us from our families more than we actually think it does….
When my family is spending family time together and watching a movie, in reality my brother and I are on our phones rather than actually watching the movie with our parents.” “When I have my phone out, it makes me feel like nothing else is going on around me.
Assuming it would have been really hard to say it to my face, she sent me a text message.
The negative side was I didn’t know if she truly felt sorry because I didn’t hear it from her.
The quality of a conversation using social media is awful because you cannot sense the emotion or enthusiasm from the other person.
It makes you wonder if they actually mean what they say.” “I do think it has gotten to an extreme point where you can say things you can’t say or get away with in person.” “I’m disappointed whenever I hear about social media being used as a way to hurt people.
I wonder if this happens when the writers forget that there are real people behind the screen.” “Computer reliance could hurt a person’s ability to have a face to face conversation by making it awkward and unusual to hear something and respond with a thoughtful message through the spoken word because of one’s dependence on a keyboard to convey a message.” “Social media conversations today are filled with “haha”, “LOL”, and other exclamations that are meant to represent laughter.
This shorthand has become second nature and is often used when the sender is not even smiling, much less laughing, in real life.
On the occasion that our “roflcopter” is actually put to use at a funny moment, we are replacing actual laughter with, in this case, a simple ten-letter acronym.
According to Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at Oxford, the actual physical act of laughter, and not the abstract idea of something being funny, is what makes laughing feel so good.
If we are so willing to replace the act that, honestly, we all love, with an artificial, typed representation that doesn’t even bring the same joy, what else would we be, potentially subconsciously, willing to exchange?
” “Since the inception of social networking, the quality of conversations has dropped.
Sometimes friends can get so socially attached to something such as a blog or gaming console that they lose touch with friends, creating small gaps and holes in close friendships/relationships.” “The new socially active era causes laziness because instead of running to your friends you can message them.
Or instead of walking upstairs to notify the family of dinner, I can blog it.
Social networking makes life so convenient that it creates laziness.
In my opinion staying fit is important, but it is difficult to go beyond the newly developed status quo.” “It’s really easy to spend hours doing nothing….
It’s a fantastic way to waste time.” “We tell ourselves lies about ourselves and develop something we are not.
I believe that people are spending so much time online that they don’t always understand the feeling, emotion and/or character of the person they are talking to.
When you talk to someone through a message or even a voice, you can’t always fully understand them.” “Social networking has ruined the thoughtfulness in basically saying hello in person.
For instance, you could say hello to your friend in Germany with Facebook, chat in seconds; but what if there was no way to communicate via social networking?
Well you would have to write them a letter and that is something very thoughtful.” “When I see my friends on their phones and I am around them, I feel disconnected even though we are only two feet apart…..
Unfortunately, sometimes friends use their phones so much that it is difficult to have an actual conversation with them.
“Honestly, I sometimes truly wish that ‘tools’ such as the i Phone (or any smartphone), laptops, i Pads, tablets, etc. Sure, they’re great, incredibly useful, and fun time-killers.