Places you live, your phone number, your address, your appearance, your photos, your family members and you are all over the Internet for everyone to see. Where would you find all this information on any given person? The answer is Facebook. In todays time it is not uncommon to have a social networking site that you use on a daily basis. Maybe even more then you should. Being a student myself I know what it is like to use Facebook every single day. I check Facebook before bed, before I leave for class, before class starts, during class, after class, on the way back to my dorm, and on the bus. Before the day is even over I have been on Facebook 6 times within a 2-hour period. I’m updating statuses on what I’m doing, where I’m going, what my friends are doing, commenting on friends stuff, updating my information on my page. All of these things can have major repercussions that you would never even think about. But does anyone really know what is at stake here? What you are at risk to lose? Do you know how the over use of these tools can affect you later down the road when you’re older? Their answer to these questions is usually no. No one really understands, they just use it because its there and don’t see there can be consequences to their actions online. Before transferring your life to an online URL you should know what that could mean for you.
When I check Facebook I see my friends posting that they are going somewhere. The status will include a GPS location of some kind of establishment they are headed to. Now if I were a murderer would this not be horrible! So many teens are putting up locations of where they are going and where they are and where there coming from that if someone wanted to find them it would not be that easy. Does no one see the problem that we are facing here? The problem is called privacy. We are leaving our personal information out there for any eyes to see. If you Google someone’s name almost every time his or her Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or Instagram might pop up. Most people may not have privacy settings on their page that would leave the World Wide Web as an entryway to their life. It’s easy to forget that Facebook is totally optional. We all complain at every slight change to the site, but remember that we’re all only prisoners to the degree that we allow ourselves to be. If you try to quit, it will show you pictures of your friends and ask if you’re really sure that you want to disown them as if that’s what you’re doing, but Facebook will eventually release you at your request. Does Facebook hurt us in the long run? Would we be better off without it?
Research done by Holly Korbey shows that 91% share a photo of themselves on their profile (79% in 2006), 92% use their real name on their most-used profile, and 20% include their cell phone number (2013). Sharing a cell phone number online opens other doors for contact. Anyone can take that number and contact you or pretend to be someone you know in order to get ahold of you. Also your number could be sold to any advertising company that would then contact you over and over to try to sell a product. “The typical teen Facebook user has 300 friends”(Korbey 2013). Any of those 300 hundred could go to your profile and view your personal information including hometown or cell phone number and see where they would be able to find you if they needed to. Most teens might argue that they do keep their profiles private not allowing people to see their information. On average only “60% percent of teen Facebook users keep their profiles private” (Korbey 2013). Which means 40% of teens have their information out there for grabs for anyone who wants it. This can be very dangerous with sexual predators and such. There is a lot of risk with something so simply as turning privacy settings on. Her research also says that 56% say, “It is not difficult at all” to manage privacy settings on their Facebook accounts. If that was the case then why does 40% not have privacy settings turned on? The answer is because this generation is used to everything being done for them and they choose to be careless instead of stepping up. Technology like Facebook is causing laziness in this generation. From experience the first thing I did when I made a Facebook was make my privacy settings only viewable to my friends that I accept. Anther way that people can make sure their profiles are safer is by going through their friends once every couple of months and deleting some old friends you do not communicate with anymore, Especially since that is the purpose of Facebook, to communicate.
A very good example of how Facebook can be dangerous happened to a girl named Ashleigh. She was 17 years old and was on Facebook all the time and was a big thing to her. She was very desperate for a boyfriend. One day on Facebook a boy messaged her sparking a conversation. She did not know this boy at all but she was interested in what he had to say. She continued talking to this boy on a regular basis and eventually decided she wanted to meet him. She went to meet the boy to find he was a 33-year-old serial rapist Peter Chapman. Before anything could be done she was murdered and dumped into a ditch. This girl had no idea. She was only 17 years old. Could you imagine this happening to your 17 year old? These things happen everyday, but yet again people post their location and what there doing all the time. Do you really know who is looking at your profile right now? There is no way to truly know. While spending all your time on Facebook you communicate with all your friends daily through pictures, comments, statuses, likes, pokes, and games. Did you know that activities as simple as these can take away from your communication skills?
Social media, cell phones, instant messaging, and email are all examples of ways to communicate. The teens in today’s time cannot go without these. Every one has a cell phone, everyone has a Facebook and all of our communication is through technology it seems. The major problem with all of this is that we no longer hold the ability to have face-to-face conversations. Everyone is so shy and quiet that they cant give speeches in front of class, or talk to a person they don’t know without being uncomfortable. Having good social skills is a necessity to be successful in the business world and it seems to be a skill that has put to the side. I for one would rather have a conversation face-to-face or over a phone call then through a text message or Facebook message. Technology has not become a tool but a crutch. Research done by Kerry Benefield shows that, “a 12 year old is 50% more likely to contact a friend by text messaging than talking face-to-face” (2011). Is that not a problem? At such a young age kids are becoming reliant on technology to do all the work for them and are not learning how to do it themselves first. The best solution is to take technology away and learn to live without it. once you are able to live without technology, the use of technology will then become useful to help make some things easier, but not to do everything for you.
We do not realize that simply things as cell phones and computers can make such a huge impact on our lives in ways we don’t expect. We must realize that we do not NEED Facebook in our lives to survive and be successful and stay in communication. Facebook ignores its quitters at its own peril. Even though it might be hard to remember that Facebook is optional, people who are more concerned with what they’re giving away than what they’ll be missing figure it out, and find their way out. Just think about what privacy your losing and the skills your not gaining by having a conversation over a keyboard.