No one knew five years ago just how big the trend of Facebook would become. The social networking site followed on the heals of the mostly teen-used MySpace. Facebook hit it big, however, and people of all ages use it, as well as businesses and organizations.
Positives of Facebook
The Facebook giant has become a way for people to communicate. It has taken the place of email and even telephone, as people can quickly post messages back and forth online. What no one expected, however, is how many organizations and businesses would use the online tool. You can “like” a local restaurant on Facebook, or get information about a cause, and many businesses use it for advertising and promotions.
A Bad Image
To some people, Facebook is a great thing, and Facebook has helped many old friends reconnect, has simplified the way we receive information, and it gives many lonesome people things to pass the time. Facebook, or course, also poses some problems. First of all, Facebook can get people in trouble by letting out their secrets. What too many people don’t realize is that once information is on Facebook, it is public knowledge. Pictures of drinking with friends have cost people their jobs, and silly remarks about doing drugs or other bad behavior can have repercussions. Parents need to monitor their child’s Facebook page to see what kind of image they are portraying of themselves.
Cyberbullying is a growing problem, and much of this can take place on Facebook. People are allowed to post comments on other people’s “wall” for everyone to see. This means that rude or hurtful comments are seen by all the person’s friends. On the other hand, private messages can also be sent, so a teen can be quietly receiving nasty messages from people without anyone else knowing. Again, parents should be prepared to check in on their teen’s page to make sure none of this is happening to them.
Finally, Facebook is addicting. Because it holds so much information and social connecting for teens, they feel the need to always be on it. For some, the Facebook games become an issue and they sit and play for hours. Others could spend the day going through online pictures. Parents should monitor the amount of time their child spends online and on Facebook, so that they take time to develop their skills in the real world also.
Facebook doesn’t seem like it is going away anytime soon, and there are bigger and better social sites that would pose the same problems if they got popular too. Parents need to always be watchful for what their teen is doing and how they spend their time. Set limits for how long they can be on the computer or iphone, and then encourage them to get involved with activities or academics or friends in person. Facebook can be a great tool for our teens, but it needs to be used in moderation.