Socializing Through Technology: Good or Bad?

Socializing Through Technology: Good or Bad?

Shannan O’Neil, Reporter

It’s true that social networking was created so that young adults can be more social, right? Texting was invented to instant message someone needed quickly through the use of a cell phone; also true. Of course, these things are assets in emergencies, or in developing relationships and close bonds, but on the downside it’s also a detriment in the development in other physical social skills.

Facebook is a malicious networking site to some more than others. While quite a few adults handle the idea of fast moving technology and their children constantly being attached to the computer, other adults find this a great opportunity to reconnect with past friends who never made it to their future. In 2004, Facebook was made for college students… only. The rules of Facebook became more lenient by going from only college users to only high school students to now finding kids as young as six years of age on this site. Facebook was created as an improvement to MySpace, and was prided on being safer and more private. In this case, less cyber-stalking would occur which also means less sexual predators to potentially harm teenagers and young adults. However, Facebook does a lot of harm—a lot more than blind-optimists would like to believe. A lot of teens these days, and that small percentage of adults, spend hours on this site and find it much easier to say things (nice and… not so nice) through writing, causing a delayed social development. Often times, you will see teenagers and children on their smart-phones or iPods playing games whilst they are at social events or gatherings causing an anti-social plague amongst children and teens.

Pretend you’re at a party, and an incriminating photo of you was just “Mobile Uploaded” to Facebook. You keep it up on Facebook because it makes you look cool, right? And then college time comes around, and you think to change your name on Facebook to something clever like Bill Ding because you think colleges won’t find you. Oh, but they will. They’ll search your real name in the Facebook search engine and it will come up right away, even with your cool, creative alias. They will find that picture of you and base your entire future of college and career on that one photo.

That’s where the danger of texting also comes into play. The awesome art of “Mobile Uploading” is sending a picture to Facebook through a picture message on your phone (for all you Facebook-humble kids who didn’t know). If a picture of you is sent to Facebook by a friend, you yourself cannot delete it. Your friend may even send that picture to someone else. It could totally be innocent, or perhaps it may not be. Yet, an acquaintance in your school may think you’re the laughing-stalk of your school and can take a picture of you doing something embarrassing, or what they might think is embarrassing, and send it to all of their cool friends. Is that really so cool? It’s bullying. Whether that picture makes it to the internet or not, it’s still considered bullying.

Then there’s sexting… No one wants to hear it so I won’t get into it…
On the other hand, Facebook is an asset. Facebook could potentially raise self-esteem when you get up to forty of your friends or even people you don’t know to “Like” a Profile Picture, or on your birthday when four-hundred of your Facebook friends write “happy birthday” on your wall, or simply letting people know you’re now in a relationship and you’re NOT the awkward loser who would never find someone to love.
The older folk seem to find joy out of this site as well. They truly seem excited to find who sat behind them in history class in 1984, and they want to rekindle their lost relationship.

Texting is also very important in a state of emergency… or what kids nowadays are calling emergencies. When a parent needs to pick you up from school, or when you forgot your keys and need your neighbors’ set, or when you want to hang out with your best friend this Friday because you miss them and you’re too lazy to call (total emergency right?). Teachers can absolutely argue that texting is a major distraction but teachers are not to talk. It’s happened often when a teacher’s phone has gone off in class because they received a text message. Not all teachers do it, but you’d be surprised at the small amount of teenagers and kids who don’t do it either due to restrictive, conservative parents rather than permissive, more up-to-date and accepting parents, or because they have a mind of their own and want to maintain good values and resist temptations.

Teachers need phones too to communicate with others, as well as other employees of different fields. It is rude, however, to text while a teacher is talking or trying to teach. The point is: it is useful in a lot of situations.

So, communication may at some times be a harmful detriment, and other times it may be and useful asset. These arguments may never be won; it’s a gray area for sure. Just remember, be careful!