Teens and social networking

It’s no question:  this is the techie era.  Should your kid not know about Facebook or how to navigate the computer with a mouse, automatically that kid is shunned.  It’s not a surprise.  My nephews can even tell me which browser — Mozilla?  Chrome?  Safari? — can their applications run better.  Somehow it scares me that kids know that much.

Looking back though, I can’t really be that scared.  After all, I was quick to jump the bandwagon when social networking sites started popping up.  Friendster, MySpace, Hi5, Multiply were more popular in my day.  I’ve also resided (as in blogged) thru LiveJournal before moving here.  When Facebook and Twitter came, the first three were almost immediately dropped.

I’ve always regarded my networking page to be my personal space, so everyone who attempts to attack me thru my wall/comments immediately gets a hacking of a lifetime.  I am THAT protective of my content online, so I naturally assumed that the kids today are quite protective too.  But this article caught my attention while doing my daily Yahoo! run.

10 things you don’t know about teens and social networking

Here are some items that completely bothered me:

“I feel safer online than I do offline.  So I do things online that I wouldn’t do in real life.”  –Sadie, 14 years old

“Social networking affects all the things you do in real life now.  Like, if you go to a party, one of the most important aspects of going to the party is to document yourself for online posts.  You have to prove you were looking good, you were having fun, and that you were actually there!  It’s not about the party anymore but about the pictures of the party.”  –Caroline, 14 years old

“My friendships are really affected by social networking. You have to constantly validate your friends online. And everyone’s like ‘Where were you?’ ‘What have you been doing?’  ‘Why haven’t you commented on my picture yet?’ So you have to be online all the time, just to keep track, so you don’t upset anyone.” –Jasmine, 13 years old

First and foremost, A FOURTEEN YEAR OLD PARTIES!?  When I was fourteen, I was reading Little Women!  Are you shitting me?!

Secondly, I am not… as shocked.  I remember my cousin Bianca a few years back.  She was not eating much then and I always asked her why (there was a time when I lived with them in Antipolo, Rizal).  I’m the pusher you see; I push food down her throat and make her eat as much as she can because to me, she looked quite frail.  Then she said, “I don’t want to be fat.”  So I asked her where that came from.  She promptly replied, “There’s a fat girl in class and they always tease her, and even Ate May (another cousin), the boys (our boy cousins) tease her a lot.”  No need to worry, she now has a bloated tummy and her older sister Marga is working on making her join sports to strengthen her torso.

I’m worried how my kids wil be when they discover social networking.  I’m worried how my kids will react to the fact that I have been blogging since 2004… and profoundly cursing since.  I’m worried that I might be embarrassed and ashamed and be called irresponsible, only because I chose to chronicle my life in a way that other people can see it.  So in a way, I’m worried that I’m not far off from being 14.

Marga refuses to let Chuchi face the TV screen.  She has resorted to the traditional learning tools:  books (both chewable and readable), building blocks, playing mat, rattles, squishy toys and the like.  I have a feeling our little Chuchi will become a bookworm like her sexy foxy aunt (EHEM).  My hopes to have my other nieces and nephews (all in NJ) to fall in love with books and reading and creating their own adventures will always be high.  Their parents have been constantly urging me to go there and make them read, but sincerely, I don’t know if I can handle it when all hell breaks loose.

Social networking… can be good and bad at the same time.  We have to constantly play close attention to the kids, without making them feel that we’ve stifled their freedom of expression (God knows how much information kids get from Google nowadays).  Just make sure that they don’t cross the line between being friendly and attracting pedophiles.  These sites can break a person’s self-esteem as easily as it can build them.  So keep a close eye.

I know I did.  Still am, always will.  And they’re not even my kids.  :)




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