I’m 18 and I genuinely wish Facebook hadn’t even been started.
Yes, I use it daily; I have it synced to my phone so I don’t miss a wall post, a status update, or a photo tag. As much as it hurts me to say it, I probably couldn’t live without it, but for me, teenage life would have undoubtedly been easier without it.
Next time you’re on Google, type in your name, see what comes up. When I type in my 13-year-old sister’s name I see her Facebook profile, her address, and even her phone number. Privacy settings? I Doubt she even knows what they are.
How many Facebook ‘Friends’ do you have? 100? 500? 1,000? My 13 year old sister bragged to me she had “nearly 600 friends!” When I asked her how she knew that many people, she just rolled the eyes, and replied with “I don’t, but it’s a big number isn’t it?”
Schools need to start educating their students by updating their own knowledge on social networks, and then educating 13-year-old girls (and others) on the dangers of having a public profile or accepting people that they have never met before. If I asked my sister who Ashleigh Hall was, and how she died, I wouldn’t get the answer that was all over the media last year.
There is also the stress and pressure of being entertaining, and getting Likes. My sister uploaded a profile picture and it only got two Likes in the space of about an hour, so she changed it. Isn’t this the opposite of what was drummed into us all at school? That you shouldn’t care what people think about you, as long as you’re happy? Of course this causes insecurities, jealousy, and unhappiness. But that’s another issue altogether.
Of course, this isn’t specific to girls in their early teens. I have friends who do it too. They will post pictures of themselves in their prom dress and be genuinely upset if their picture receives less likes than their friends. Hurtful comments are nothing new, it’s just Facebook makes them more visual.
We’ve all seen the stats, heard the reports, and most likely experienced cyber bullying. For me, Facebook makes it easy. It removes the face-to-face, personal element of bullying, and makes it even easier for those insecure bullies by simply putting a screen between them and the victim. It’s almost as if Facebook removes the consequences from the act, as bullies think that they can just, get away with it.
I understand that there are many advantages to Facebook, but I’d struggle to say the good outweighs the bad. Sure, it allows me to manage parties and share photos but teens have been doing this for years, without Facebook or even the internet.
I’m still using Facebook; the company knows being connected to our friends is more important to teenagers than another demographic and takes a brave teen to step away from this, I just hope more can be done to protect and educate those just starting out on the social network.