Sunday, July 3, 2011

Set An Example

I have a love/hate relationship with social networking. It definitely has its advantages for business and communication, but it also has it’s disadvantages. Don’t get me wrong, I, like the next person, spend way too much time catching up on the Facebook newsfeed rather than the world newsfeed. That’s one problem: it can be a big time-waster and many often spend more time in the social networking world as opposed to the real world. Also, when choosing to have a site such as Facebook, anything you post is on display and more people than you know are watching especially the younger crowd, which looks up to you.
I feel that the tween and teens watch and mimic everything of those a few years older than they are. Facebook and other sites didn't exist when I was in junior high, but I kept a close eye on  my brother in high school and wanted to be just like his girl friends and had big crushes on most of his guy friends. The girls liked to give me advice about boys, do my makeup, and I wanted to copy the way they dressed. 

No, there is nothing wrong with this but if I had actually being a part of their social lives on the weekends I may have been exposed me to things I shouldn’t say or hear at that age, and it could have altered my actions, and I may have tried to grow up too quickly.

Facebook allows this kind of access into our lives depending on how much we put out there. The things we post—comments, pictures, statuses—all are a reflection of who we are and will cause others to make snap judgments of our character. Many things can easily be taken out of context and can be detrimental.  If I had access to something like Facebook in junior high and saw pictures of the things that the cool high school kids did on the weekends, how they acted with their significant others, and was exposed to more than just hanging around them every once and a while, I may have tried to mimic them in my younger junior high days, and my parents would have had their work cut out for them when it came to holding the reigns. 

The older generations have a responsibility to set an example. Junior high kids have elementary aged children watching them and high school kids are watching the college crowd and older. Social networking and the internet in general is exposing kids to things exponentially.

Facebook is virtually permanent and even if things are deleted, you never know how many eyes see something before it is removed. As I said, anything can be taken out of context. Picture of you holding a glass of wine? Someone may turn you into a wild partier in their head. Make a crude inside joke on someone’s wall? You never know who you influenced, what people think of you, or who you offended because it is not a joke said in a small circle for select ears. The entire virtual universe was exposed to it. 

Along with the things we post, how we approach life also sets an example. Our successes of graduating from high school and going to college...then graduating from college and getting a job is a positive example for people to follow. Life hit you hard and you don’t have a Cinderalla  story? How you come out of it and conquer hardships will let the younger crowd know that anything is possible.

Facebook and other social networking sites are amazing, but they have their disadvantages. Don't let these cons outweigh the positive aspects of them and be responsible about what you put out there. You never know who is watching, admiring, and mimicking your every move!
In order to keep it short, I will write another post later on how Facebook can ruin relationships and even marriages.