Facebook, as you all most likely know, is the number one social networking site right now. There are more than 650 million active users on Facebook right now. Since Facebook has only been around since 2004, it has caught the interest mostly of young adults and teenagers who were already on sites such as MySpace. It’s because of this reason that most older adults (ages 40+) feel as if Facebook is all young adults revolve around and nothing good can come of using Facebook. I personally get to witness these thoughts everyday at work, where I work for a telecommunication company selling mostly cellphones, smartphones to be exact. Parents come in every single day to get their teenagers cellphones for emergencies, and when the Facebook on phone question comes up, there is usually always a rant on how useless Facebook is other than sucking up time out of their children’s day, keeping them glued to their phone. This rant however is always followed by the teenager complaining, begging and pleading, followed by the parent caving, giving their children 24/7 access onto Facebook on their cellphone (which is the number one reason they hate Facebook in the first place). Yes, Facebook can be consuming and have negative effects-all of which can be fixed/controlled. However Facebook brings so many positive effects to the world that it would be silly to get rid of it as opposed to controlling ourselves.
Pro’s of Facebook
Facebook is the second most visited website in the world (behind google) having an average 23,023,205,668 page views DAILY! There has got to be a good reason as to why this is, several in fact. First of all, Facebook has greatly improved the way we communicate with people all over the world, either through personal inbox message, instant chat, public wall post, video chat, group chats etc. For example, ten years ago when I was planning my 11th birthday party, I had to go out, buy invites, write in every single one the details of the party, and then distribute them personally to everyone who was invited. Now with Facebook, all you have to do is spend 10 minutes creating a Facebook event and then press send. Facebook also makes it that much easier to stay in contact with long-lost friends. For instance, I have been on two cruises with my family, one in 2004 before Facebook was big, and another one a year after everyone had a Facebook account. Both cruises my sister and I met the best group of teenagers who we had spent the week with, the difference was the first time we went, we had to exchange emails and phone numbers to communicate as opposed to just our names for a Facebook friend request. Now as most of you probably know, email communication gets old and tedious, and phone numbers being almost useless after international fees are applied. Facebook on the other hand is not only free, but keeps the communication rolling when constant updates, status’ and pictures are added almost daily.
In the video we watched for Unit 1 – “The World Without Facebook” it stated that 70% of local businesses use Facebook for marketing. So not only does Facebook make it easier to socialize with people, but also improves marketing and advertising for companies. For example, I love to shop at Aritzia, but usually only stop in when I have a pay check that can afford it. With Facebook now, all you have to do is “like” their page and your constantly subscribed to news, updates on sales, items, and even coupons sometimes! Not only do I get cheaper clothes, but Aritzia attracts more attention into their store, having me buy clothes that I didn’t necessarily need, a win-win situation for both parties. This must constantly boost sales around the world with 650 million users just like me. Without Facebook we’d be going back to the days of spam emails, where you’d have to leaf through the emails you actually wanted (which no one ever liked to read or receive). Facebook gives users the ability to choose what they receive updates on.
Besides all of the stated reasons above, Facebook also gives people (mostly young adults) the ability to determine their own self-identity. Users get to decide what pictures they post, what status updates they post, who gets to see their info, their likes/dislikes etc. This also allows for shy children to socialize with people out of their comfort zone, the security of a computer screen between them. With that, people have the ability to develop “virtual” empathy, which can improve the moods of teenagers everywhere.
Con’s of Facebook
There are several negative aspects of Facebook that numerous people around the world have issues with. Now don’t get me wrong, all of these negative aspect have the ability to, and have spun out of control for many people, where it has ruined their lives. However all of them I truly believe can be controlled by the supervision and help of parents. Things such as inappropriate content, consumed computer usage, and privacy can all be managed by users themselves. In the case of young teens, all can be monitored by their parents and don’t have to be as negative as parents believe them to be.
The main issue parents have with Facebook is the amount of time it consumes in their children’s day, claiming its all their children do after school, during dinner, and before bed, instead of things such as homework and chores, whether it be on the computer or through their phone. Now studies show that people spend more time on Facebook mobile(from their smartphones) more than they are on the actual site through a computer. With that being said, all those parents who rant to me about Facebook on their teenagers phones, then add it for them, are almost doubling the time their children are on Facebook. One easy solution to that con – don’t pay for your children’s addiction to Facebook by giving them 24/7 access. All smartphones allow users to access Facebook in a WiFi area for free, why not give your children moderate access? If your child truly needs Facebook on their phone, let them pay the extra $15/month, see how badly they want it then. If they’re old enough to pay for it themselves, then their old enough to make the decision themselves in my opinion. Now that only controls the amount of Facebook through cellphones, what about the hours kids are logging at home on the computer? Ultimately parents have 100% control of computer usage at home. Even before Facebook was ever popular, my parents always had a time limit per night for how long my sister and I were allowed on the computer, to do anything we wanted after school. If parents don’t want to see their children glued to the computer all night then do something! Limit their ability to be on the computer all night, by putting a time limit on it or getting them involved in other extra curricular activities.
Another con of Facebook is the amount of inappropriate content being posted by teenagers. These days girls are posting pictures of themselves in barley clothes, guys taking pictures doing illegal things and posting them for their friends to see and visa versa. This can be an issue to parents for obvious reasons and it is one of the harder things to control. Only way you can really monitor it is to talk to your child about what you consider appropriate and monitor their page. For example, when I was younger and had MySpace my parents were concerned about this specific issue, their fix: asking to see my page every once and awhile just to see whats been posted and what not. Teenagers post whats allowed, which is almost anything without parental rules/monitoring.
Privacy is a huge Facebook issue with everyone, not just teens and their parents. For example, the video “Identity and Social Networks” portrays the worries about privacy on Facebook, and unfortunately a lot of parents get the impression that that’s what Facebook is like, a webpage filled with all your personal information for the world to see. That however is greatly misconstrued, every single user on Facebook has the ability to block some, if not ALL of their personal information from everyone. For example, users have the ability to control what and who sees each specific piece of information. If users are unaware of this feature, they should be reading up on the Facebook privacy page. With that being said, as long as parents are aware of this and help/verify their children are aware of theism there is %100 privacy through Facebook and nothing to worry about.
In the End…
The world without Facebook is truly hard to imagine nowadays because it is so involved in society into our everyday lives. Because it is so involved in our everyday life, most of us wouldn’t even want to imagine a world without Facebook, parents however, wish for nothing but. There are pro’s and con’s of both sides of course, but if managed, the cons can be turned into pro’s and therefore the world has nothing to lose by Facebook. Every time you think of all the time wasted on Facebook, just think of all the time you also save; By faster communication, sharing ideas, and having everyone linked at the tips of your finger on the keyboard. Here is a link to a similar blog with different ideas. Whats your thoughts on a world without Facebook?