Date: Fri, 24 May 2013 17:36:45 +0200
Teens and Technology
Social networks have made it easier for us to connect with each other making at least 20 friends a day. There are people who use sites such as myspace to maintain daily contact with their friends who are hundreds of miles away. But then some people use these sites just for the sick of making friends. It's almost like a competition on who's more popular. I'm talking about people who spend hours on myspace looking at pictures and requesting friendships from those they find attractive or those who come from their hometown. Are these friendships healthy? Are they dependable?
I remember in my senior year in high school, I had a friend who used to talk about this guy who apparently was her friend. There wasn't a day that she didn't talk about him, a conversation with her always started with "guess what Chris said" and ended with "I love talking to him". For awhile I thought she knew him in person but a week before homecoming she told me that Chris lived in Houston and that he couldn't be her date. I was really shocked because she always talked about him as if she really knew him. She knew so much about him and she told him so much about herself. They were like best friends sometimes she would ask to go use the bathroom just so she can talk to him.
I asked her how she knew him and she told me that she met him on myspace. She saw his pictures and she thought he was so "sexy". They started commenting on each other's pictures, then they started chatting on messenger, then they started talking on the phone and she started calling him her best friend. This has become common among teens. In fact in a recent survey, one in four teens say their online relationships are equally or more important than friends met in person.
Obviously these social networks have given the word "friendship" a new meaning. Some people have more than 300 friends on their profiles and only know at least 35 in person and only 5 of those people are close friends.
Given that most teens are struggling to find out who they are in social context, these social networks give teens the opportunity to try out different personalities without consequences. They are able to build their confidence and self esteem by talking to all different types of people they met on these sites improving their abilities to interact with people in life.
The unhealthy part about this and the biggest concern for most parents is that some people put wrong information on their profiles. Face to face contact is absolutely imperative in forming friendships. If you never met someone face to face, how can you be sure that the pictures on their profiles are real? For all you know you can talk to a 70 year man thinking he's 17 years old.