Online Communities: Friend or Foe for today’s teenagers?

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http://guardianlv.com/2014/02/social-media-impacts-teens-view-of-intimacy/

The typewriters of the 20th century have been replaced with the Androids of the 21st. What used to be the Pony Express is now the World Wide Web, full of millions upon millions of stored bits of data and information. In particular, this has become the average teenagers natural habitat in modern society. As we read in “Internet Communities, Identity and Self-Affirmations”, Online Communities often allow them to explore their identity, work through issues, and explore self worth. Today’s teenagers use these online communities as a means of gaining a sense of belonging amongst their peers. These communities many times allow teenagers to join communities that they are just not comfortable openly joining. Some teenagers use these sites as a way to overcome shyness and practice communicating with people. (http://nvate.com/5905/interpersonal-skills/)

http://www.prlog.org/12073617-social-networking-and-your-teens.html

On the flip side, these Online Communities can play detrimental roles in teenager’s identities. These Communities expose our teens to sexting, “Facebook depression”, privacy concerns, cyber bullying, and reduced face-to-face social skills. Give a teenager a cell phone, as my children were, and their social identity begins to dissipate. As teenagers, they don’t care about the Jordanian pilot crisis; they care about Ashley’s new Instagram post or John’s new Facebook post. Besides being anti-social, teenagers usually fall victim to personal reforms over such Online Communities. Some teenagers use these sites to enhance their identities and embellish who they really are. Others use them as a way to gauge how popular they are based on how many “friends” or followers they have.   As we learned from the Always Super Bowl commercial, adolescent’s self-confidence diminish during puberty. For the last ten to fifteen years, what have teenagers with low self-confidence used as a safety net for these changes? Social networking sites. As Amanda Enayati tells us in “Facebook: The Encyclopedia of Beauty?”, teenagers now hold themselves to new standards based off of both celebrity and local appearances. Our youth strives to have more followers, more likes, and more re-tweets than their neighbors, and their self worth lessens each time they see a friend with more of any of the three. As we read in “Internet Communities, Identity and Self-Affirmations”, Virtual Communities provided by social networking sites offer online relationships that make us seek and gain approval, as if there is no other way to find it.

Besides the social decay and insecurities, Online Communities pose a danger to teenagers in aspects of physical and mental safety as well. Chris Hansen of Dateline shows us the danger of physical abuse and possible online misconduct, while incidents of cyber bullying show us the mental affects that social networking sites can have. We would love to believe that these things are rare occurrences and just happen to the reckless internet users, but studies show that nearly 43% (https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying) of all teenagers have faced cyber bullying. Even parents are getting involved in cyber bullying. Does anyone remember the story of the mother who built a fake social media account to bully an old friend of her daughters? She ended up accidentally bullying her own daughter into committing suicide. Either American teenagers are greatly losing their online awareness skills, or the problem is becoming more eminent. While teenagers argue that their online profile and number of online friends they have is important, the real importance is how successful one is in contributing to society, not a thread of tweets. Are teenagers better off participating in Online Communities? Should parents help teens see that their social lives are being traded for E-greatness, and our society could be full of great thinkers and activists if only the young turned off their electronics and were willing to have an actual face-to-face conversation with another human being?

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49 thoughts on “Online Communities: Friend or Foe for today’s teenagers?

  1. Carly Hernandez February 11, 2015 / 10:11 pm

    Teenagers, especially at a young age, can be strongly influenced by online communities such as Facebook and Twitter. At that age so many different things are occurring at once and you’re trying to find a place to fit in. That place can just happen to be Facebook and even one negative comment can have an influence. Generally at that age, I think that these communities aren’t a positive influence. There should be online classes offered in schools that young teens the proper way to use social media and other sites. I do think that parents should assist these teens and young teens. Bullying is being taken to a whole new level with the rise of so many more sites it’s important to take the time to understand the consequences of their actions. You hear of horrible things happening on the news from children who have been bullied online, just like the example you gave. In Facebook’s early stages, it was first only offered to people who were in college. Not just anyone could join; you had to be a certain age and attended a university. As times changed, now anyone can sign up and become a part of a community with stolen photos and harassment.

    I think one online community we don’t necessarily pay enough attention to is Tumblr. You get to choose who you want to follow and what you want to see on your feed but can also easily scroll pass anything. Tumblr has a strong online community feeling and can relate to anyone. There isn’t really any bullying going on since the community is so tightly knit. People feel free to express the pictures that they want since it has more of a blog feel. LinkedIn also is a great online community that not only benefits yourself but your friends as well. You’re more likely to have a positive outcome when you express yourself in a positive community. There are also not many teenagers on the site since it’s focused on furthering your career and staying connected with professionals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • asibo February 13, 2015 / 8:49 pm

      I definitely agree with you that Tumblr is one of the social media outlets that is criminally underrated in how positive a community it is. What I find most interesting about this phenomenon is that Tumblr provides the most anonymity of any social network that I am aware of, yet it is also one of the most supportive and positive networks out there. Users are not asked to reveal their name, age, gender or any of the information that most sites typically require, though users may choose to post this information if they wish. What is interesting is that most critics of social media and the internet emphasize how the lack of identity and responsibility online brings out the worst in people’s online behavior, but this is simply not the case on Tumblr. The site even allows for completely anonymous messages to be sent, and while this is occasionally abused, in my experience this rarely is a site for cyber-bullying, at least not to the extent that exists on more public networks like Twitter and Facebook. Tumblr is also one of the most sensitive sites to abuse and cyber-bullying, as there is an intentional loophole in the messaging and blocking systems, where you can block an abusive anonymous message, and the blog identity of the sender will be identified on your list of blocked users, thus allowing for a mechanism to expose the culprits of online abuse.

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  2. spgregor February 12, 2015 / 7:55 am

    You mention excellent points. I have often wondered why this wasn’t covered in the intro to computer class at school, especially when they now have anti-bullying clubs and seminars. We have had teens in our school district charged with child pornography for forwarding inappropriate pics that girls send to them. I am all for those positive online communities, but unfortunately we seem to only hear the negative things. We need to get the word out about the positive ones and keep educating our teens.

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    • bjuhasz10 February 15, 2015 / 3:56 pm

      I believe that with our evolving society, things like social media use should be covered in high school. I remember wasting so much time in history class learning about things like French kings from the 1600’s, but I didn’t know basic things like finance. I had always wondered why there wasn’t a course offered on investing money, basic financial principles, how mortgages work, etc.

      Now that I think about what other changes schools could make, I think if kids got a course in social media, its uses, and its consequences, they would be much more aware of their actions, and could avoid things like cyber bullying, harassment, posting inappropriate pictures, and more.

      In fact, being a college athlete, I think universities should have mandatory courses for athletes (and optional for anybody else interested) on how to use social media positively, study cases on incidents where social media has hurt a college athlete, and more. Many schools like the University of Georgia and Notre Dame have already had social media training for their athletes (http://www.speakingspecialists.com/socialmedia.php), so I think the next step could definitely be classes. 99% of college athletes don’t end up playing professional sports, so to be able to use professional sites like LinkedIn and others to promote their images, resumes, and be able to land a job in the future could be a huge asset, and would be a very positive use of today’s social media and online communities.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Brandon Coulter February 12, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    Social media and networking have been the subjects of constant backlash since their early creation in the 90’s and early 2000’s. More and more parents and individuals concerned with the future of our young people have been questioning whether or not the constant use of electronic conversation has diminished our youth’s ability to hold a solid face-to-face conversation. While it can easily be argued that personal confrontation and interaction has been afflicted due to the use of online communication, it cannot be argued that these young kids using social media as an outlet for expression have been any less sociable then ever before. This lapse in personal communication can come down to two main culprits: a lack of individuals to talk to and outlets for creativity within suburban and deep rural communities as well as a misunderstanding of how to discuss issues between adults and their children. This generation is constantly changing due to technology and fads. Their is nothing similar between the teens of today and the teens the the mid-1900’s, causing a major disruption in understanding. Social networking acts as the easiest way to connect to those that truly understand interests and issues that one is facing by showing that no matter how difficult times can be, you are never alone. To embrace generational differences and to understand the outlets necessary for creativity is the first step in understanding and relating to the youth of today.

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    • spgregor February 13, 2015 / 10:14 am

      I agree there is nothing similar between teens of today and those of the mid-1900’s. However, the fact remains that there have always been (and always will be) generational differences that need to be addressed and understood between parents and teens. I agree teens are more social, but I respectfully do not think some of their face-to-face social and civility skills are on the same par as prior generations. (I am not saying all teens.) I also believe there are online communities that can help teens feel they are not alone and are finally understood, but there are also some online communities that can be very detrimental to teens self image.

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  4. mvzang February 13, 2015 / 7:43 am

    Great blog. Teenagers are a very impressionable group. They’re at the point in their lives where they begin to see the world in a different light, also often seeing people as their true selves. We do need to protect our children and teens, but at some point we as a culture also have to know when to allow teens to explore and make decisions on their own. In our longest reading about the role of social media in teen’s lives makes a good point that the phrase “teen’s safety” invokes a certain level of response from the public. Don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly that our youth need a protector in their lives, and when I have children someday, they will have that in me. Where I believe one of the biggest gray areas lie, is at which point do we stop coddling our youth and let them fall on their faces a few times? Isn’t it good sometimes to learn the hard way?

    Instilling strong values in a child is important and I think that will lead them to making better judgment calls later in life. I think we all can remember being in high school or middle school and sneaking out in the middle of the night, or chatting with a significant other past bed time, or even smoking your first cigarette, but we have to remember, this is a part of growing up. Our youth definitely have it different than many of us did growing up in the 80’s or 90’s or even earlier, but we to accept the fact that this is our world now, and the values we impress upon them growing up will carry through to their teen years, and get them through the tough times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 13, 2015 / 10:52 am

      As a parent myself it is hard to observe teens getting drawn into harmful online things. You are so correct when you say we need to instill values in our youth and they do need to learn. It has to be a balance.

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  5. eakoonter February 14, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    I don’t believe that online communication is harmful to teenagers, but I do think that parents should be monitoring their teenager’s online activities frequently. Teenagers are vulnerable and nïeve. Whatever one teenager is doing the other wants to do. Chelsea got to go to the party, now Ashley wants to go. These young minds fall into the trap of hackers, child predators and scams. They think what happens now will eventually disappear. None of that is true. Parents need to protect their children from cyber-bullying, child predators and other harmful things. On a positive note, online communities allow teenagers to express themselves. It allows timid teenagers to learn how to extroverts and it also allows outgoing teenagers to “find” their true selves. As long as a teenager’s face isn’t stuck in a screen for the majority of they day, they won’t lose their social manners. They might actually enjoy talking more or learning more. It’s amazing how technology changes people; whether good or bad.

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    • spgregor February 15, 2015 / 6:27 pm

      I agree; in moderation online communities can be beneficial for some teenagers. It’s up to parents to help moderate them and help them learn the necessary social skills.

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  6. eakoonter February 14, 2015 / 2:50 pm

    I don’t believe that online communication is harmful to teenagers, but I do think that parents should be monitoring their teenager’s online activities frequently. Teenagers are vulnerable and nïeve. Whatever one teenager is doing the other wants to do. Chelsea got to go to the party, now Ashley wants to go. These young minds fall into the trap of hackers, child predators and scams. They think what happens now will eventually disappear. None of that is true. Parents need to protect their children from cyber-bullying, child predators and other harmful things. On a positive note, online communities allow teenagers to express themselves. It allows timid teenagers to learn how to extroverts and it also allows outgoing teenagers to “find” their true selves. As long as a teenager’s face isn’t stuck in a screen for the majority of they day, they won’t lose their social manners. They might actually enjoy talking more or learning more. It’s amazing how technology changes people; whether good or bad.

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  7. adrianhormsby February 14, 2015 / 3:41 pm

    As a parent myself, Sharon’s question about the merits of online communities for teenagers is one that my wife and I consider continuously, having raised, now raising and having to raise three teenage daughters. Even if we did think that an online community or social media is not beneficial for our teenage kids, the reality is in today’s world as a parent you really have no choice. You either embrace it yourself and try to make sense of it all or get stuck in the rut of us versus them and all the stress and anxiety that comes with that. I must admit, that growing up in the late 60’s early 70’s, despite what was said in the previous blog replies, today’s teens are generally better behaved and aware of others. My generation of boomers were so self absorbed and distracted with saving the whales, getting stoned and burning their bras, it makes todays youth look angelic. Each generation has their own challenges I suppose. To some extent I believe online access to information and the sharing of current sometimes controversial events on line e.g. FaceBook and Twitter News feeds, fills the role of the protests, rallies, marches and rebellion of my generation. I think if they had a Woodstock event today in the rural cornfields of Michigan, everyone would be arrested no questions asked. I wonder if this is the reason why I subconsciously decided to do a class like IIC. Now my daughters are getting suspicious at my questions as they are hitting too close to home. They’re just relieved that I’m not on Instagram, but that may change in the not to distant future. Having an interest in Graffiti around Detroit and Hip Hop Culture the online community has been a huge source of current information and knowledge surrounding this contemporary phenomenon. Just as Rap and Graffiti are misunderstood by authorities as subversive, I would not want to make the same mistake with social media, just because I don’t understand it and my kids do. Having open communication about what they view and trying to discuss the why of what they do on social media is a much healthier and productive conversation than criticizing out of hand what they see and do on the web. Every now and then they come up with stuff on the web that is truly profound and informative, even to an oldie like me. e.g my 10 year old daughter has recently been researching about Egyptian Mau cats, all on line and has found out a ton of information about this ancient breed. Inspiring indeed. We live in hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 15, 2015 / 6:32 pm

      You bring up all valid points. Parenting is a constant understanding of change and understanding the younger generation. We go back and forth with online communities also, and reality is they are here and our teenagers will find their way into them. We can only hope they grasped all we tried to instill in them and they will participate in the healthy ones due.

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  8. mstor763 February 15, 2015 / 11:30 am

    I understand your points about cyber bullying, but bullying has been around forever. The only difference between bullying in the real world versus in web is the type of bullying. For example, being bullied at school or at home will have the same mental effect as being bullied using the internet or apps. Either way, they will be mentally scarred for life. Being bullied in person can even be worse with the physical aspects involved.

    I believe that parents need to remember the importance of face to face communication and socialization. Sure it is easy to sit a child down in front of a television or computer screen, but the negative side effects to the child greatly outweigh the benefits of having time to themselves. I do understand that parents are not able to control what their teens do outside of their watch, but social interaction, even in the home, can make a huge difference in an adolence’s life.

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    • spgregor February 15, 2015 / 6:38 pm

      You are correct; bullying is bullying and any type of it will scar the one being bullied. In the past it just seemed it could be left at school or wherever and the kids were free from it for awhile once home. Now we bring it into our homes via online communities and it seems like some get no break from it.

      I agree completely that parents need to play active roles in the socialization of their teens. Sometimes it is as simple as ensuring they have family social interaction,as you mention.

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  9. galaradi February 15, 2015 / 12:25 pm

    I definitely worry about this generation’s kids and teenagers. A kid’s best form of entertainment nowadays is playing with their iPad or playing with any form of technology. I agree that teenagers’ use of social media can possibly cause mental harm. How many of us see our friends going out without us on Snapchat or Instagram and get upset? Imagine what these teenagers will feel if they have the constant need to fit in. I went through that phase as well; and I think most teenagers do want to fit in.

    If the cool thing to do is to constantly be “online”, then they will do that. Their self worth does lessen when they see other people with more ”friends” online, or more likes. This sadly does determine some teenagers’ self-worth. This is why I believe parents need to play a big role in their teenagers’ lives. They need to be aware of the dangers of the online world, and make sure their kids know who they are communicating with online. Nowadays, someone can easily trick these kids into thinking they are talking to someone nice and friendly. The families and teenagers need to be careful of their use of social media and who they are talking to.

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    • spgregor February 15, 2015 / 6:41 pm

      I agree, parents need to play an active role in their teens life. Part of parenting is being involved and in today’s world that includes being aware of the importance technology plays to teens. We cannot take it away, but we can monitor it and talk to our teens about proper online behavior and moderation.

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  10. sneff16 February 15, 2015 / 5:02 pm

    I think that teens and adults need to turn off their electronics and have more face to face conversations. Many parents are just as plugged into their phones, possibly even more than their teenage kids. I have a facebook account and my mom gets more likes and comments than anything that I ever post. It seems like the older generation is using Facebook more than the younger generation.

    I also think that teens are much smarter than they are given credit for. Most teens know the dangers that be found online. I think that has a lot to do with why many teenagers aren’t using facebook. They don’t want to share everything with everyone.

    Parents can monitor their teens activity online, but if a teen really wants to hide something from their parents, they will find a way.

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    • spgregor February 15, 2015 / 6:45 pm

      I agree many adults are just as hooked on technology as teens; our whole society seems to be. Teens are very smart and are aware of the dangers online, but sometimes don’t heed those cautions.

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  11. lewenzel93 February 15, 2015 / 5:30 pm

    Teenagers are already easily influenced enough as it is, especially with where this generation is headed in terms of technology and it’s advancements, as compared to decades ago. Participating in online communities only helps to give teenagers a wider range of resources to use to influence them, and, as you pointed out, gauge how popular or unpopular they are. This is obviously as issue teenagers of other generations have never faced before, which makes it difficult to address. However, I personally believe just because these issues are much more diverse than anything my parents faced, I don’t think it’s automatically a bad thing.

    I don’t think technology is holding my generation back from being “great thinkers” or “activists,” merely just creating a new platform to allow for it. For example, you might see a young 16 year old sitting on his computer for hours at a time and think he’s anti-social or lazy, when in reality, he’s conversing with civil rights activists in New York and attempting to plan a trip out to participate in a rally. The internet and technology opens up for new opportunities which may not always be positive, but it’s just different than anything we’ve seen so far, and I don’t think it should be looked down upon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 15, 2015 / 6:51 pm

      You are correct, the internet and technology open up new opportunities and I don’t know anyone who looks down on it. We all utilize the internet to help us achieve something we would never have without it. It’s one of those things that has so many pros and cons but is here to stay.

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  12. kevinpayton1 February 15, 2015 / 6:14 pm

    As a father to two teenage daughters this blog interested me the most. Both of my teenage daughters have social media accounts and frequent them daily. The difference is that both of my daughter’s personalities are completely different. I have a daughter who loves being social and another who is more reserved. I from time to time will check their accounts to ensure no predators are trying to contact them or that nothing inappropriate is getting posted. I have already lost all my hair due to age and genetics but if I still had some I would be pulling it out. Approximately 3 times a month I have to hear how they have to block someone or someone blocked them all because of a commit or picture put on social media. As I browsed through the 300 friends they have on their friend list, I think to myself, that neither one of them even knows 300 people. It is apparent that the more friends you have the more popular you supposedly are, even if you do not know all of them. But what troubled me was some of the pictures these teenagers were posting. A good majority of them were to me inappropriate. I am sure that these pictures were posted to gain popularity and gain more friends. Not to mention the videos on Youtube.com. I think social media is more foe to our kids, teenagers, and young adults than friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 15, 2015 / 6:59 pm

      I have experienced the same thing as a mother of two teenagers. I know we live in a different time, however with the distorted image of “popularity” that some young ones have parents can’t help but be a little concerned sometimes. When I hear stories of teens being prosecuted for forwarding inappropriate pics via smartphones I cringe.

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  13. seananthony3 February 15, 2015 / 6:26 pm

    I feel like there are a lot of generalizations when made about this generation and how they talk to others, or what they do for fun. I was a shy kid when I was younger and the internet helped me be more confident and even practice talking to other people. Sure, face to face communication is great, but so is the ability to talk to someone thousands of miles away. During my teenage years, I had a few friends from the United Kingdom, a friend from Japan, several from California and even a e-pen pal from China. Face to face communication may be down, but is this necessarily a bad thing? They’re communicating in different ways and it could even be a lover from far away. I think we’re being too critical on this generation and how they communicate, and instead of looking down, we should warn them of the dangers, included predators.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 4:41 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience; that is one of the positives created by online communities. As to face to face communication, it is important we learn to this skill. Only like 30% of our communication is verbal, the rest is non-verbal. Without the face-to-face communication some lose the ability to properly read the non-verbal cues and these non-verbal cues are important in all relationships.

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  14. Emily Rader February 15, 2015 / 7:59 pm

    When we’re talking about teens and social media, I think it definitely should be limited. Living with a 14 year old girl has shown me this. I feel that being too connected at this fragile age exposes her to more than she should be and can also take a toll on self esteem because she’s exposed to a lot more celebrity nonsense and unrealistic expectations. It’s also easier at this young age to make the mistake of putting something out there that shouldn’t be just due to age and being naive about the world. For these reasons, though my mom still let’s my sister have ever social media account out there, I follow her on all of them and I’ve also had the talk with her that the internet stores everything forever. I think she understands, but I also think to help the youth responsibly use social media we need to talk to them early on about the dangers of being irresponsible online.

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    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 4:45 pm

      It’s great that she has you watching over her and talking to her. Not all teens have siblings; I know my younger son listens to his older son more than me about things like that. Sometimes the sibling’s comments are taken to heart more even though they are the same as the parent’s.

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  15. jaemillz411 February 15, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    I agree that the some online communities thrive on making its users feel inadequate in order to sell products or endorse companies. This is the world we live in, but I also think that the benefits of online communities outweigh their weaknesses. I have found that online communities if used the right way can cause individuals to make a difference together. Personally, I joined this online community mainly to live a healthier life. As a group we motivated each other to go to the gym, drink more water, and to be strong and stick to our personal goals. We trust each other and share our experiences with one another because we do not get it in our real lives. And because of this we have enhanced not only our own lives, but also the lives of one another. And that is the power behind online communities. The power to make changes and influence lives that we would not have been able to touch if not for the Internet. Perhaps teenagers need better ways of deciphering which online communities are good for them and which ones are not. But more importantly parents need to help teenagers recognize that what people think of them online should not have the power to cause their self-esteem to collapse. They need to enforce their own worth otherwise these communities can cause major harm.

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    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 4:48 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience; it’s nice to hear. I agree teens (with parents help if need be) need to know their own self worth and find online communities to reinforce this.

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  16. bubbastinx February 15, 2015 / 8:37 pm

    I was deeply engaged by the summary of the readings. I felt that this reader made very astute correlations. It did, however, invoke me to ask the question how much as Social Media filled in for the traditional types of friends?

    I mean after all in the traditional sense values, ideas, and confidence are derived from mostly our parents first, and then our network of friends.

    I don’t blame kids one bit for turning to social media to fill a void that has been created within their life. If I was insecure, and was super concerned about being cool. I would change everything about me to fit in, and I’d feel horrible about being opinionated, and enjoying what I do.

    Actually, I feel bad for these kids. Many are lost, and never will be retrieved. Thus they will either accumulate a life time of therapist bills, or pop Xanax to quell their psychotic behavior, and if you live in the ghetto and rural America. You can just buy a cheap case of beer.

    Who needs health insurance right?

    But I digress.

    These numbers aren’t surprising, and the reason why these teenagers and adults are doing it isn’t a total shock either.

    It wasn’t until I become a parent, and seen the many hats that encompass being a parent.

    Feed yourself, function on limited sleep, be model in which you wish your kids to follow, cheer for your kid, love your kid, dot screw your kid up, all of these thoughts running through your head during the course of a day. It’s tough being a parent. It’s an uphill battle to make ends me. How can you expect most kids to feel secure and stable, when their parents are not?

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    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 4:52 pm

      You make all valid points and I think today’s society makes it harder to parent.

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  17. Ms.McCollum February 15, 2015 / 8:43 pm

    I’ve seen online communities as a foe for teenagers. They may be able to communicate more but it is not proper. Are they really stepping out of being shy? No, they are still hiding. Hiding is a big issue with the internet. Hide from being shy, bullies hide, as do predators. Although “Virtual Communities expand on real communities allowing users to explore elements of their identity” we do not behave the same in both environments, i.e being able to hide. I said in a different comment that we need to have outlets to express every side of us. I still believe that is true, but there are always limits.

    “Social-media users are having more conversations with people — online and off!” Okay, but are these people developing useful communication skills for the future, especially teens now? This is where I’d agree that teens are anti-social. Just last week my 18 year old cousin texted me asking what kind of string we used to make jewelry and I told her to call the place we took the class at. Instead of doing what could have taken 3 minutes she said she’d just figure something else out…I called them for her.

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    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 4:55 pm

      There is much debate over if they are developing useful communication skills. Considering most communication is on a non-verbal level, I can’t help but wonder how much of this they are developing if they spend too much time on social sites rather than face to face conversations.

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  18. rmpaulk February 15, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    I feel that social media is definitely more dangerous to kids and teens. When you are an adult you have developed reasoning skills. The part of your brain that helps with reasoning is your hippocampus. This doesn’t fully develop until you’re in your twenties. This means that children and teens do not have this part of their brain fully developed and often react without thinking. This makes social media more dangerous for them, because they don’t think of their repercussions. With the ease of insulting someone online, since they aren’t in front of you, kids find it even easier to insult people because they both can’t see them AND they aren’t thinking before acting. There are definitely benefits of having kids interact with social media (finding others like them, practicing communication and social skills), but there are still dangers. I definitely feel that kids shouldn’t be on social media until they are at least 13 since they will be moving from kids to teenagers, and need to be given more space and responsibility, but they should still be monitored. Parents should be aware of everything their child is looking at and doing on social media and they should be held responsible for what they post. Parents should also limit the time their child can be on social media and encourage face-to-face hangouts with their friends. Real life interaction is important.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:02 pm

      You bring up excellent points. Regarding ease of insulting someone online, that also goes for lack of civility. I think an online forum somehow grants some the right to throw all civility out the window.

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  19. akuelbs February 15, 2015 / 10:11 pm

    Social Media has become a part of everyday life when it comes to teenagers now a days. People in middle school and high school are on social media a good amount of time and the activities they do on social media transfer over to school. People will be talking about what one person posted and people seemed to be judged based on how many likes they have on a post. Its as if high school’s own communities have moved over to social media just to make it public to everyone about who the popular people are and such.
    Because of this everyday life moving towards social media, i think parents should monitor how their children are using these socials medias and making sure they are putting out too much personal information and to try and stop cyber bullying if their child begins to start it. The argument that any child will argue is that they have lost their privacy with having their parents monitoring their internet behavior and usage, but cyber bullying is a real thing and parents and even other peers can put a stop to it if there is someone to intervene.

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    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:04 pm

      I agree, parents should all take an active role in their child’s online participation. Part of being a parent is protecting our children and there are ways of doing that without completely violating their privacy.

      Like

  20. thegradytrain February 15, 2015 / 10:20 pm

    It seems this current generation of teens are polarized when it comes to their online communities and internet usage. There are some that are truly masters of their domain whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. On the other side, you have the victims, those that are bullied and become depressed as a result from social media. There is no doubt tha a certain toxicity that lurks on the internet and it is total black hole of negativity. The key thing that I have learned when I use the internet, is to stay as far away from that said black hole. I believe that in the future it will be easier for people to ignore it and I believe that social network platforms work to make it easier to ignore.

    Another polarization that exists is with how the social media and online communities changes us as people. On one side, these networks compliment our lifestyles and tend to enhance our lives in multiple ways. The other side is sort of a develoution as some people refer to it. The other effect that can happen is that the constant uplink to the net tends to distract us and even make us anti-social. These people are too busy looking at their phones instead of the person next to them. This makes for bad experiances for everyone involved because one person is usually to distracted to do anything.

    I feel like I try to be in both of the positive groups, but this is my internal perspective, I know there are people I know who are a lot worse than me in terms of technology usage in the midst of encounters, but I also feel like sometimes I can be pretty anti-social with technology as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:06 pm

      I hope you are right that it will be easier to ignore the “black holes” in the future, especially for the vulnerable teens.

      Like

  21. mwiedmeyer February 15, 2015 / 10:42 pm

    At this point in society, I think teenagers have to be involved with social media to keep an active social life. To be offline is to be out of the loop. Everything major that happens in life is now the subject of a post on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or some other site. However, I think what teenagers are doing online should be lightly monitored and limited. By connecting with their children on social media, parents can keep an eye on their kids without hovering. The kids may have to deal with some embarrassment, though!
    I disagree completely with the phrasing of the last question, however. Our society has plenty of great thinkers, and though our brains have adjusted to technology through things like shorter attention spans, I think it forces content producers to make their content more engaging or compact. AS a society, our knowledge is growing every day, and with the internet, access to that knowledge grows as well. Society may be changing, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be for the worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:09 pm

      Yes, the internet has increased our knowledge. Let’s hope it also does bring more great thinkers and activists – we will see what the future holds.

      Like

  22. doniecew February 15, 2015 / 10:47 pm

    I think that parents should be active in their child’s social life whether it be online or off but not too involved to where kids feel like they have to sneak around. Parents and their children should be comfortable enough with each other in all aspects to where they can talk about problems and ways to resolve them. I think that cyber bullying and other negatives with online involvement stems from the lack of involvement and concern parents have with children.

    Like

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:10 pm

      I agree, parents have to be open and available for their children to communicate with them. They have to know they can go to them with anything, any time.

      Like

  23. blcarr February 15, 2015 / 10:49 pm

    Growing up a loner, the only thing I had to pass time was television and computer services. I believe it made me a better person. Online communications is not harmful, bad parenting is harmful. If you don’t teach the youth about rights and wrongs, they will be destined for failure. In life, people are followers. Whatever one person is doing, another wants to join and or up them. Brandon has the new air jordans, so bobby wants them as well. The problem with the youth of today is, they think what they post will disappear later in life, not knowing it follows them wherever they go.

    Like

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:13 pm

      You are absolutely correct – bad parenting is harmful. Parent’s have to help teach their children right from wrong, and in today’s world that also applies to which online communities are beneficial and which are harmful.

      Like

  24. hessaj February 15, 2015 / 11:12 pm

    I feel that online communities for a teenager can be equal or greater than an interactive adolescence. At least online, you can find people who share the same interest with you in less than a minute, interact with them easily, all with little risk or depending how much personal information you decide to give out. It is true that this generation wants to participate in many electronic applications as we can, it really is the hip thing now. But for some people, it’s a starting point to explore and discover more within the internet and online communities. Like I said, it’s up to you to determine your safety within online communities. Otherwise, whatever the subject or reason for participating, it can be incredibly rewarding and/or satisfying.

    Like

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:17 pm

      You are correct, however some teens need guidance in order to remain safe. With very young children now joining online communities, we can’t always rely on them to determine their safety within online communities.

      Like

  25. smkiraco February 15, 2015 / 11:13 pm

    “Some teenagers use these sites as a way to overcome shyness and practice communicating with people.”

    *Quickly raises hand*

    Now that is out of the way time to actually start my response.

    As a whole I do not know if teenagers are better off participating in online communities. I can only speak for myself. I grew up without a computer until I entered high school where it became a necessity. Even today I do not own a smart phone, but that is beside the point. I have always been shy and reclusive. Talking to strangers has always been an issue for me, even today. Recently, as of the last five or so years, I have been trying to open up online. Today it is mainly through GameInformer where I can talk about video games amongst a community. I look at my attempts to talk to strangers there as practice for opening up in the real world. And I like to think I am slowly progressing. For people like me, inherently shy, online communities are a great set of training wheels to practice upon. I just hope that I can take them off so to speak.

    To wrap up this cathartic speech, I guess I would say that a proper balance of online and face-to-face communication is needed for today’s world. Proper behavior online is becoming just as important as face-to-face both personally and professionally.

    *Lowers hand*

    Liked by 1 person

    • spgregor February 16, 2015 / 5:19 pm

      I also grew up very shy and would say you found a good balance. I like your last comment about proper behavior online and face-to-face and think that is such a true and important statement.

      Like

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