Hannah Chapla

Hannah Chapla
Grade 10
Hodgdon High School
Hodgdon, ME
Mrs. Mills.

The Two Words, That Started it All.

As the 21 st century progresses, it’s becoming harder and harder to recall a time when society didn’t have technology to rely on in so many ways. We have all grown so used to the worlds of tweeting, posting, blogging, and texting. It is almost impossible to deny the bittersweet impacts social networking sites have had on people of all ages, particularly teenagers, though. And in my humble opinion, the crazy new aspects we have all adapted into our lives, began with two words: My Space.

Though My Space’s popularity flame has been blown out for years, it seems this social networking site could be held partially responsible for the domino affect of many other communication sites to follow. As a sophomore presently, I can easily travel back to my younger middle school years (such as 5th and 6th grade), and remember that having your own My Space account was the “it” thing; it could almost be considered a deciding factor on whether or not you were popular or cool. My classmates and I would go to school, come home, and login to our parallel world of chatting behind computer screens, choosing emoticons that fit our mood, and updating our status to tell our friends probably a bit too much about what we were doing. By 7th grade, social networking evolved to facebook.

At first glance, everything about it seemed overwhelmingly amazing; being able to connect with friends anytime, anywhere, share personal aspects with people close to you, check up on what people are doing. The truth is, however, that facebook altered our minds; allowed us to hide behind false identities, trash-talk and bully people anonymously without consequences, stalk people, upload embarrassing things for the whole world to see. The cold, hard truth is that with the click of a button, a life can be ruined. As teenagers, and even younger, we have danger and disaster at our finger tips. Other sites like twitter and tumblr, can work similarly.

These sites are causing people to miss out on real, life relationships; causing social skills to diminish; causing morality to go down. A 2010 study shows that 88% of teenagers have witnessed cruel or harmful acts on a social networking site. The same study shows that 58% of teens have had an experience online that has made them feel closer to somebody. And 85% of teenagers ages 13 to 17 have an account on one or more social networking websites. That percentage is growing. These statistics, actions, ways of thinking, and altered-relationships should all be a wake up call to all of us. We should all learn that instead of tweeting about an issue with a friend, you should kindly confront them. Instead of telling people how you feel about them, via facebook
chat, you should use real-life language. Technology continues to grow forward, as we grow backward.