Feel that vibration in your pocket? Is it an emergency call? No, it’s a Facebook notification; however, teenagers react to it like it is an emergency. Can’t they check it out later? No, the urge is too strong to resist.
The Digital Age has become a great tool to get information in the palm of our hands. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and iMessage are all on our phones. People are becoming addicted to these social networking sites, and it is affecting their interpersonal relationship with people. It’s so easy to be separated by a screen and a keyboard rather than deal with a person in front of you.
Andrew Chow, a sophomore in Lafayette, CA said “I think most teenagers are abusing the main purpose of using mobile phones which is using the device as a phone. Teens text or use Facebook and log into social networks too often, getting distracted from school work and other more important priorities.”
How much time do you spend on your social networking site than actually talking face to face with your friends? Phones were originally created to help us communicate with others when we couldn’t see them in person. It’s not the phones that are abusive; it’s how people use them that makes it abusive.
It seems that these social networking sites are becoming tools used for bullying. Classmate Isabel Artiaga thinks bullying “is definitely a phase that people go through, especially at this age.” Statistics show that 56% of teens have once been the target of a cyber-bullying activity. Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words and pictures will hurt your child’s feelings. Teens are using Facebook to harass their peers.
It’s amazing what horrible things these teens say to others on the internet, in order to lower people’s self-esteem. A sixth grader commented “Sometimes bullying doesn’t seem like such a big deal just one time, but when it happens repetitively, it can be really depressing for people.”
What parents can do is talk to their children about what is going on with them online. They should sit down with their kids and ask “what would you want me (your parent) if you were being cyber-bullied. Parry Aftab, a New-Jersey-based lawyer and expert on bullying, advocates the ‘stop, block and tell’
To help your child stay balanced, centered and safe, check out www.safekidsnow.com/streetsafekids