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Сommend social phenomena

Making ‘friends’ online is a commend social phenomena among adolescents of developed countries today. Social networking sites such as ‘Facebook,’ ‘Bebo,’ ‘Myspace,’ and ‘Friendster’ all serve to make the world a ‘smaller’ place – as the cliche goes. More importantly, making online friends is an integral aspect of any adolescents social development today. While many may claim that it is detrimental to a teenager’s emotional and social growth, one cannot deny the advantages that online networking brings.

Making friends online helps adolescents feel they have a sense of identity and develops their self-esteem in some manner knowing that they have ‘X’ number of friends. It also helps them to get further connected since such social networking programmes allow one to see the friends of one’s friend. It also exposes an adolescent to the variety of viewpoints on particular issues and could possibly help them learn to negotiate differences in opinions. Most importantly, it allows adolescents to constantly be ‘in touch’ with their friends even if it were virtual.

They are able to communicate instantly with friends and this at times is crucial for adolescence is a period of estrangement from parents. The ‘immediacy’ of having friends can sometimes alleviate negative situations. On the other hand, such virtual relations often mean adolescents can adopt foreign identities and get intertwined in the multiple personalities they develop. Knowing more people does not also necessarily mean they would be people whom one can trust and rely own.

Very often, the relations are superficial. The cyber world, due to its quality of anonymity, can lead some to be irresponsible with their viewpoints and remarks. According to a MySpace Report on the Dangers of Social Networking, Amy Cainfield notes that teens often think such sites are a safe haven from persecution in the real world. But often this is quite the reverse particularly with the rise of cyber-sex crimes due to such opportunities for connectivity (p. 6)

To conclude, one cannot readily dismiss the cyber environment as necessarily a space which would corrupt adolescents socially. The internet and such social networking sites provide relational opportunities once unthinking. To expect the good, we must accept the ills that come with it. References: Cainfield, A. (2006) What to do about MySpace. com: The Dangers of Social Networking Sites. Retrieved March 11, 2009, from http://www. scribd. com/ doc/4753158/MySpace-Report-The-Dangers-Of-Social-Networking

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