Facebook Has benefits: With the Click of a Button | Teen Ink

Facebook Has benefits: With the Click of a Button

February 15, 2012
By Charlotte Lee PLATINUM, New York City, New York
Charlotte Lee PLATINUM, New York City, New York
21 articles 6 photos 4 comments

“I roam the streets of Facebook every night, knocking on my neighbors doors and reading flyers that have been pinned up by local citizens. I gain a lot of information from wandering these active streets. I make new friends by complimenting someone’s flyer, and can flaunt my identity by presenting my self in any way shape or form.” - Anonymous Student

Facebook plays a crucial role in a teenager’s life. Through this social network, one can re- invent themselves, communicate more easily, connect with others about homework, gain information, and create friendships as well as maintain them. Although some might think Facebook is a major time waster, and there is some truth to that, people do not realize how much value it adds to a student’s life. Sure, one can get dragged into playing Farmville or Tetris but if you look at the overall picture, you would see many positive aspects of this social network. Parents often avoid allowing their children to use Facebook because they think it will make their grades drop, prevent them from doing other activities, and set them up to have hurt feelings. If one abuses their Facebook time, yes some pitfalls can occur, but if just the right amount of time is spent on it, one will find it not just enjoyable but helpful in many ways. Contrary to many parental fears, Facebook has much value because it allows students to communicate effectively, encourages relationships, gives students a platform and compels teenagers to get involved.

One of the greatest advantages Facebook offers is quick and effective communication. If you ask one student for homework, and they do not respond right away, someone else will invariably see the post and get the information to you. Sometimes one will receive multiple responses and an interesting discussion can take place. Facebook has replaced email and telephone as a way of connecting. Facebook also provides pertinent and timely information that allows students to keep track of their plans. If one had an interest in poetry, Facebook might inform them of an impending poetry slam. Schools, educational programs, social organizations and clubs use it to make announcements and inform of upcoming events. It even keeps track of all your friends’ birthdays. Facebook has not only replaced the phone and email, but in some ways, the calendar as well. According to Science Daily, a study was completed at the University of Minnesota showing the benefits of social network sites. The data was collected over six months from students ages 16-18 from thirteen midwestern urban area high schools. The results, according to a principal investigator of the study, were that “students were practicing the kinds of 21st century skills we want them to develop to be successful.” When asked what they learned from using social networking sites, the students listed technology skills as the top lesson, followed by creativity, and being open to new or diverse views and communication skills.

Facebook also acts as a match-making machine when used appropriately. Teenagers tend to feel insecure and often times view themselves as something lesser than they are. “I used to never try to talk to certain people because I thought they would think I was weird or desperate, but when I got a Facebook, I realized how easy it was to talk to others,” one Fieldston student confided. The same student continued to say, “Sometimes I don’t want to have a lengthy conversation but I just want to reach out and let that person know I was thinking about them. Facebook allows me to do that quickly and then get back to my studies” Luckily with Facebook it is easy to maintain friendships because one can always do subtle things to keep the candle lit. Facebook provides a place where one can list their interests and favorite books, movies, sports and music. Through this tool, connections can be made. Facebook acts as a beneficial tool for both the shy and the outgoing alike, allowing the shy kid to communicate safely and sometimes at a distance, and permitting the outgoing kid a platform for their gregariousness
Facebook allows teenagers to re-invent themselves and create an identity. If one were to walk around a high school, they would observe the same jeans, same boots and the same shirts. Teenagers feel the need to conform to one another. This prevents one from exploring who they really are, and taking the time to embrace the side of them they are too shy to present. With Facebook, teens can highlight their own unique characteristics. The photographer can post her photos. The dancer can post videos of himself dancing and the athlete can show memorable moments. Yes, it can be mistaken for bragging but if one does it occasionally all they are saying is “I am not afraid to show who I am.” Someone could gain the reputation for being a comedian, just by writing that occasional funny comment on Facebook. Another could earn the reputation of loyal, devoted friend just with their supportive online comments. Most importantly, the shy student has an opportunity to shine. According to Jennifer Baker, Phd. in her article, The Moral Benefits of Facebook written for Psychology Today, “Obstacles for the shy are more easily overcome online.” Facebook allows us to put our best face (glamour shot, even) forward”
Parents should rejoice that Facebook keeps their children away from television and mind-numbing video games but what should really be taken note of is that this social network can lead to social responsibility. While kids think they are simply connecting to their friends, they are really connecting to their world. Exposure exists on a daily basis to current events, political debates, charitable causes, and cultural events. One can find links to stories on CNN, a variety of human interest blogs, articles on health issues and various postings from not-for-profit websites. It could be a great way to discover one’s community service interest. Kids can pay attention to someone else’s passion and maybe even try to pursue it as well. Facebook just might prompt an individual to get out of their chair, away from the computer and get involved. Ironic.

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This article has 1 comment.

muffy23 said...
on Oct. 26 2012 at 6:56 am
This is so clever. The ending is such a surprise. The writing is so fluid and beautiful and I didnt want to stop reading