Social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook are endangering NZ teens.
Social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook are not endangering NZ teenagers because the sites are not the cause of the problems that arise on the Internet. Cyber bullying is not the fault of social networking sites, but the teenage users who use them incorrectly. Better self control and time management would ensure teenagers that they do not waste excessive amounts of time on social networking sites. Myspace and Facebook encourage socialisation and communication between teenagers around the world. However, false identity can be a problem for teenage networking site users, but with better education, the problems linked to false identity can be prevented.
Social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook are not responsible for cyber bullying. It is the users of these networking sites that are to blame for bulling others through the Internet. It is the teenagers’ own bad, or lack of, social skills that cause them to want to bully others through networking sites. Parents should also take the responsibility to watch over their child’s activities on social networking sites and check what their child is sending and receiving. This would enable them to take control if cyber bullying is an issue. Networking sites try to prevent cyber bullying by allowing users to ‘block’ other users from their page so that harmful messages cannot be posted by the ‘blocked’ user – it is the teenager’s own responsibility to use this service.
New Zealand teenagers use an increasing amount of time on social networking sites, but this is due to their bad self-control and management skills, rather than the social networking sites. It would be extremely unreasonable to expect networking sites to log users off after a certain period of time to prevent NZ teenagers from wasting time that should be spent on homework or other responsibilities. Instead, teenagers should be more responsible for their own future and test scores by controlling their time used chatting on Myspace or Facebook. Parents should also control their child’s Internet usage so that they do not spend too long on the social networking sites.
Social networking sites were developed for the purpose of communication and socialising so that people in different cities or countries could ‘meet’. This means that New Zealand teenagers can talk to friends in other cities or countries over the Internet, instead of spending more money on phone bills. Networking sites provide a way to instantly keep in touch with friends and family around the world. Myspace and Facebook provide useful services that are beneficial for teenagers’ social and communication skills. They can also boost teenagers’ confidence by allowing them to make new friends without actual face-to-face contact, which may be a challenge for people who are shy. They allow New Zealand teenagers to meet other teenagers around the world where they will be able to talk about their experiences and lives.
Teenagers can be endangered on social networking sites due to chances of ‘meeting’ sexual predators or other harmful users with a false identity. Teenagers, especially teenage girls can meet people through these networking sites, and if by chance, one of these people was a sexual predator pretending to be a normal friend, shewould have no way of knowing his/her real identity. This can be very dangerous for innocent users, especially if they go to meet their ‘friend’ in person. However, these dangers can be prevented if users avoid becoming friends with people they do not know, or alternatively, do not meet their on-line friends in person alone.
Social networking sites such as Myspace and Facebook are not endangering New Zealand teenagers as problems that occur within the sites are not caused by the networking sites. Instead, they are caused by teenagers who misuse the sites for cyber bullying, rather than its purpose, which is for communication and socialising. It is also teenagers who are endangering themselves by spending an excessive amount of time on these sites instead of completing their academic work. Dangerous people can be encountered in networking sites, but can also be avoided using common sense, making the networking sites a safe and enjoyable place for New Zealand teenagers.