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Face to Face or Facebook?

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Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook has undoubtedly revolutionized the idea of a typical social lifestyle in the early 21st century. Consequently, these new trends have exposed a fresh genre, harsher than ever, of harassment, bullying, privacy dangers, and other social struggles. If parents of current high school students -naturally those who attended high school 30 years ago- were to revisit for a week, it would be obvious what our generation has come to: Lifestyles revolving around the social network, and anything and everything they can do to improve their social status. Facebook has stirred up numerous issues within the social lifestyles of our technologically savvy generation.
For one, this sudden shift in communication methods has resulted in weaker relationships, solely based on virtual interactions. Most would agree that it’s easy to get up the guts to send a text message or put a post on the wall of somebody you typically wouldn’t speak to in person. In fact, according to digitalbuzz blog, 57% of people communicate to others more often online than they do in real life. However, when you eventually meet in person, an awkward situation where neither one of you knows how to respond to interactions face to face has been created. Or worse, you’re embarrassed about something you said online, that would have never come out of your mouth out loud. A lack of face to face interactions has become common in relationships. Instead of venturing on social outings, hours are spent glaring with anticipation at the computer screen. Not only is this issue due to the popularity of Facebook and other social networking sites, but it is also the fault of cell phones and the seemingly spontaneous rise of young students possessing them. Text messaging, like Facebook, is becoming a dominant form of communication, not necessarily for the best. Clearly, with technology constantly becoming more advanced, the rise of virtual relationships is unstoppable.

Not only that, this new social networking “frenzy” has diminished unthinkable amounts of teenager’s self-confidence. For example, one of Facebook’s main functions is undeniably sharing pictures amongst your friends. But, how can this possibly be healthy when you can’t help but compare your pictures to those on other’s walls. Users (teenagers in particular) spend more time than they should perfecting and editing their profile pictures to satisfactory. However, the “improved” pictures are only lowering the self-esteem of those who are already self-conscious about their appearance. After all, what good is a fake picture when anybody that should be viewing it has already seen you in real life?!
Cyber-Bulling has emerged as a common term heard amongst teens of the present decade. For some it may trigger tearful memories, while others may not be fazed by the versatile meanings. In other words, the matter is simply not important to those that have yet to be affected. There is no connection to bring out your emotions. Cyber-bullying is one of the many things that people claim they would never do, and then a month later they find themselves regretting what they got themselves into. Although no two situations are identical, most follow the same lines: Simple posts or messages with phrases meant to be lighthearted and jokingly friendly taking an ugly turn to break lifelong friendships, strongly-bonded relationships, or maybe young but promising acquaintances.
Similarly, the information posted on social networking sites can harm whoever posted it. In other words, these sites, including but not limited to Facebook, are ideal resources for online predators. By simply visiting somebody’s page you can find out precisely what they plan to do tonight, who they will be with, and for the major Facebook junkies, exactly when they will leave home and what time they will return. Although the extensive amount of extraneous information regarding the whereabouts of teenagers is potentially dangerous, you will find most users claiming: “But it’s private! Only my friends can see it!” Well, believe it or not, some of your “friends” may not even be real people! For this group of users in particular- the ones fooled by only semi-true privacy claims- it can be difficult when living in the moment to peak your head out into reality and realize that if somebody were really after you, there are many, many ways to access that so-called “private” information and track your every move.

Mark Zuckerberg’s legacy has now hooked millions worldwide. Posting messages and browsing the profiles of other users has become the new stimulation for the many roaming minds of teens and young adults. The website has kept users glued to their computers and limited social activity beyond black text letters. Facebook has stirred up numerous conflicts within the social lives of its users, but hey, the website is making history. Although the tide has turned to a new social networking era, many will reminisce upon the days where interacting with your friends was reserved for face to face communications, no strings attached. Although it is impossible to brace yourself for the ridiculously unpredictable future, I say get ready for the next generation of Mark Zuckerbergs who are waiting just around the corner with their plans for the next revolutionizing creation.




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