April 5, 2013

Teen Talk: Would the world benefit if social media crashed?

By Heather Zermeno, Teen Reporter


What would we do if Facebook shutdown? What about Twitter or Tumblr? Or all three? It is crazy to think that social media accounts for 18 percent of time spent online. This is not just about teens. These numbers account for everybody who participates in social media, including, parents and teachers.

According to mashable.com, the amount of time the average person spends on social networking sites has more than doubled from 2.7 hours to 6.9 hours per month. In 2008, only 24 percent of Americans had a single social media profile; now it has escalated to 56 percent.

Most parents of adults complain about teenagers constantly being on their phones and not paying attention to what is going on right in front of them. Personally, I think it can be looked at the other way around as well. I had a friend tell me the other day that she was getting upset with her mother when they were supposed to be having a mother-daughter day.

Their mother-daughter days usually consist of them going out to eat and spending quality time together, catching up on a busy week or month. Unfortunately, during this mother-daughter date, this girl's mother would not put her phone down.

Their usual rule is that phones go in their purses and do not get looked at. But as this teenage girl tried to hold a conversation with her mother, she found that her mother was not paying attention and was instead on Facebook. Seeing how much that hurt my friend really got me thinking about the misconstrued stereotype that teenagers are the ones addicted to their phones and social networking sites.

So what would I do if all social media sites shut down? I would be outside in the sun, at the pool or beach if it were a nice sunny day. I know that, since my brother and sister and I all have our own iPods, we are all separated in our own rooms on Facebook. We are hardly ever in the same room as one another anymore.

Without these sites to distract us, we would more than likely all be in the same room together, probably laughing and goofing off. Also, as a family we enjoy watching movies together in our movie room. Without these sites, I am sure we would watch a lot more movies.

As for everybody else, I think people would be more social and friendlier to one another. I have found that, because people are constantly on the internet, there are no more casual conversations in the coffee shop or at the park. Instead, everybody is absorbed by the fake life in their phones and hardly look up to talk to other people.

I say fake life because online things are not what they seem. People can make a boring party look like the greatest time of their life. People do not live in reality anymore. Just last week my parents flew to Alabama for my older brother's Air Force graduation. He is now a second lieutenant. While they were there, my parents were irritated by a group of mothers who were on their phones taking pictures and posting nonsense on Facebook.

It is not bad that these mothers wanted to share this exciting time on Facebook; the bad part was that it was a small event before the large event and these women were making it seem like they were having the most amazing times of their lives, when in reality they had not actually done anything because they were too busy posting about what they wanted to do. These women were not living in the moment.

If these social media sites were to shut down, people would start living in the moment and taking action in their lives instead of just talking about what they want to do with their lives.

Another thing is certain, as much as I hate to say it there would be a lot less drama, especially between teenagers. Drama is so easy to get involved with nowadays. All it takes is one comment that was either misinterpreted or meant for someone else to cause a war online.

Had these conversations taken place face to face, there would be a lot less people involved and it would probably get resolved quicker. The other day my mom texted my sister something and my sister misinterpreted the tone in which my mother spoke. My sister ended up getting angry with my mother, as did my mother with my sister. When they were finally face to face, it ended up being a big misunderstanding. I fear this happens a lot on social media sites.

I think that if Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media sites were to crash, the world would be a lot more understanding and an easier place to get along. Even if it were just for a week or even a day, the world would benefit from a break from the cyber world.