Facebook in the Teenage World | Teen Ink

Facebook in the Teenage World

September 12, 2011
By Natalie Geismar BRONZE, Encino, California
Natalie Geismar BRONZE, Encino, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

In a few moments, I’d like you to do me a favor. Close your eyes for a few seconds and picture a world without Facebook. No “likes”, no comments, no virtual friends, or profile pictures---none of that. Ready? Go. What did you see?

There is no question that over the 7 years Facebook has been around, it has become an inexplicably massive force in modern technology. It has been estimated that around 42% of Americans have Facebook accounts, as well as 7% of the entire world’s population. In fact, it has become an extreme rarity for me to come across an individual who is not familiar with the term “Facebook.” Now, any empire with such a huge influence on the world of technology will consequentially have a colossal effect on the everyday lives of those who use it. Facebook does just this, and included in the significantly large group of people effected are the thousands of teenagers that log on daily.

“We are building Facebook to make the world more open and transparent, which we believe will create greater understanding and connection.” State the Facebook officials on the site under the tab “Facebook Principals.” It’s true; Facebook does make it easier to connect with friends over the Internet. What I truly question is Facebook’s ability to create understanding between individuals, and if it really makes the teenage world more or less “open and transparent.”

Facebook is supposed to be a place where one can create a page to express themselves and connect with peers, and it is at times a very convenient and easy way to communicate important information to the people you know. Yet there are problems with Facebook that extend far beyond that concept.

Teens that log onto Facebook have endless albums, biographies, status updates, and commenting abilities at their disposal. You’d think that everyone would freely create a page that corresponds with who they really are—their likes and dislikes, favorite memories, and valued friendships---without having to worry about being judged. In my experiences with Facebook, I have found this assumption to be inaccurate. I cannot express to you how many times I have witnessed the judging of a teenage person solely based on their Facebook profile. Oftentimes photos and information are scrutinized for the sole purpose of extracting negative information. Already judgmental and immature teens use Facebook as a tool to put each other down. It’s a truly sick practice. As a result of this, teens feel pressure to depict themselves as a physically and mentally perfect person in their profile. “The narcissist has a very low self-esteem and needs to feed them. And Facebook is based on exactly that: the profile is its presentation to the world, its showcase,” states researcher at the University of California Larry Rosen in Gourav Jain’s article, “Facebook and Teenagers.” Meanwhile, if you look past all the narcissism and insecurity, the truth is, how many friends someone has, or the number of “likes” they get on their photos, says absolutely nothing about their character or their life. It’s ridiculous how important of an issue teenagers build those insignificant numbers up to be. Many teens nowadays seem to be blind to this simple truth. The saddest part about all of this is that the teens that choose to express themselves the most through their profiles seem to me to be the most scrutinized.

Adolescent fault-finding and criticism are not the only problems stemming from teenage Facebook usage. There is one other major issue: Absorption. There is no question that Facebook has the potential to be extremely addictive to any new user. I, myself have spent far too many hours mindlessly scrolling through my news feed--most of the time finding nothing of value--when I could be doing something far more productive with my life. And even though I am completely aware of this, I cannot seem to break the habit. Over the past few weeks I’ve realized something. When I’m on Facebook, I believe that I am connecting with my friends; however, it has become clear to me that typing to someone through a computer screen does not offer anything close to the connection two people make having a face-to-face conversation in person. If teens did not spend so much time doing what they think is “connecting” on Facebook, they could actually spend time making real, lasting, wi-fi free connections with the people in their lives. The purpose Facebook was created for is backfiring on us, and it is not the website’s fault at all; it is our own abuse and misinterpretation of this gift we’ve been given that is the real issue at hand.

Now, I’m going to close my eyes and picture a world without Facebook. I’ll tell you what I see. I see a world where a teenager can walk into a room of strangers without any false misconceptions based on their virtual profiles. I see lowered rates of cyber bullying and fewer snide remarks surrounding photos of friends. I see teenagers actually picking up the phone or having conversations with each other in person. I see friendships instead of friend requests. My wish is for teens to begin to realize the negative effects of Facebook that they are inflicting upon themselves and one another, and for Facebook to finally be used by these teens as a place solely for harmlessly and cordially connecting with others.

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This article has 4 comments.

on Nov. 18 2011 at 7:25 pm
ethan_bane_hope GOLD, Willis, Texas
19 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
there is nothing to fear except fear itself

how true... there is too much drama on facebook and it makes people put up more "walls" to protect themselves from being hurt by the inconsiderate people all over the world

Tweety Bird said...
on Sep. 26 2011 at 2:05 pm
I agree with this article because it shows that many people and students are less intelligent because of Facebook. Not only are they are less intelligent, but they are not learning anything through Facebook. I also think that Facebook should be deleted from the Internet because it’s not useful for some people and it’s not helping the community in general. Throughout, Facebook has been a problem because when people want to hurt you and judge you, you can’t stop them. People that have a bad reputation show it by knowing everything that you do. Other people use it to talk about others and I think that it is not right because you don’t notice how are you making fun of your peers or friends. So this is why I agree with this article that Natalie G. wrote. 

on Sep. 19 2011 at 11:24 am
clumsyteardropper SILVER, Roslyn, Pennsylvania
8 articles 0 photos 87 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You can't help others, if you yourself need help" -my sister ;) love it!

amazing work :)  i am making this my fav!  i wanna check out more of your work! for sure! :)  and could you help me out?  could you check out "Iron Box" by me?  I really need the feedback!! :)  again, great job!

elizabeth said...
on Sep. 18 2011 at 4:44 pm

this is fantastic.

great job!