The Facebook Story – A Teen’s Perspective

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Do you own a farm with daily production of stock? Do you own a garage full of cars? Do you own a city ? Or are you now wondering how  insane these questions are?

If you are still clueless to what I am talking about, chances are that you are barely up-to-date with the current social networking trends.

Welcome to the virtual world of ‘Facebook’.

These days, ‘addiction’ is the word that most parents use to describe their children’s engagement with Facebook and other social networking sites. Furthermore, the generation next is not just content with playing games on these sites, owning a farm or a city but has also progressed to chatting and updating their status messages.

The virtual world has changed the lives of my generation in more ways than one. Mostly not for good…

The age old method of communication, where mailing handwritten letters was the norm, is almost extinct now. If you ask someone of the older generation, they will tell you the joys of sending a mail by writing down their thoughts in various kinds of decorative  letter pads, walking to the post-office, buying a stamp (by the way, even stamp collectors are rarely found these days) and then mailing it. But, if you ask today’s youth about handwritten mails, they’ll have a tough time trying to figure it out…

Parents fear that their kids born during the 90’s and after, will have a major problem , talking/communicating with each other as chatting online   has become a networking trend and negates the need for actual face to face talk. This comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. It does put a barrier to conversation. People who barely talk in public are usually ‘high’ online. Things which are embarrassing to talk about in public are easily dealt online. Then there is the whole issue of chatting with strangers who could be potentially dangerous. Most children have no idea how this can wreak havoc in their lives.

On the positive side, it connects people. Long lost friends, relatives, who have lost contact with each other, can re-establish their connections. Important messages can be passed on within moments, and the best part – it’s absolutely free. The world as we know it has never been more connected as one big community.

There was a time when parents were busy and when their kids would disturb them, they used to ask them to go play outside or ask them  to build upon their hobbies like writing, reading, art, or sudoku. But today, parents resort to technology when they need to get rid of their kids while at work – tablets/iPads have come like a genie in a bottle to the rescue! They open their account, find some game and give it to their children, to keep them occupied. And the problem is solved. But little do these parents realise that they are in ways making the child dependent on the gadget. This could, in the long run, have repercussions. And then they wonder why their children get addicted to their games.

I keep trying to figure out  why they do that? As long as they limit them for a particular time schedule, I am sure kids too would not complain. Time limited gadget play time can infact be beneficial. It is certainly going to increase their memory power, management & competitive skills and cognitive skills. It’s when parental time is replaced by gadget time that trouble starts.

 

Youngsters face the greatest issue with time management, by spending almost all their time on networking sites. Given a chance we would browse and sit all day on Facebook and other social networks and gaming sites. Truth be told, this is our favourite past time. There are times when even we don’t even know why we are there or what we are doing but we just need to be there!

Time just passes us by and these are some of the most glorious years of our lives [or so I am told]. Considering that, I think it’s only prudent that we make the best use of it.

What are the alternatives you ask?

If you think you are good at art, develop it, you could be the next Van Gogh.

If you think you can sing or dance, practice , until  you are crowned the next stage diva.

If you are a sports fan, there are a gazillion sports centres where you can get coached. Perhaps they could take you to the next Olympics.

If you love reading, there are amazing collections of e-books that are downloadable. You can read it anywhere you want.

But, if you are really into writing, then DO WHAT I AM DOING NOW!

I still feel that with all its negative influences, Facebook still can be an agent of change in more ways than one.

1. Facebook can be used  for a social cause at school spreading the word & sharing.
2. It can be used to create awareness about social issues.
3. It can be a platform for debates and dialogues.
4. One can give literary reviews and form book clubs.
5. Classroom [Academic related] problem solving & solutions – can be discussed on Facebook. Nothing like a group discussion.
6. Organising and brainstorming school events.
7. Using the Internet for school projects research and analysis.
So you see I am left standing where I began. Taking the middle ground. And like most of my generation, Facebook will always be something that I can’t do without. Quite like U2’s song, “With or without you, I can’t live…With or without you.”
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