Caitlin is a 17-year-old from Simsbury, CT. She likes to write, make things with clay, and really wants a dog. Her two favorite subjects are Art and English.
Facebook. Sometimes, it seems like every teen has a Facebook account. While every teen does not in fact have an account, this is the typical argument teens use when battling their parents.
I was one of those teens, one who insisted that I was the sole teenager alive who did not have access to gossip and pictures featured on the alluring wall of Facebook. Did my parents relent after hearing this moving speech? Of course they didn’t. They simply patted my back, said “tough luck”, and told me that I would have to wait a year or two, until they could be sure that Facebook was safe.
I waited. And waited. And waited. And suddenly, all the people who didn’t have a Facebook (who I said did for the sake of my argument) now had an account. Everyone except for me. I felt handicapped by my parents’ strict rules. I felt that they were robbing me of a central part of my youth. So I argued again, this time focusing on the benefits of Facebook and the new safety features that would protect my personal information from the ubiquitous “online predators”.
My parents relented. Whether it was because of my foolproof argument, or the fact that they could now trust me online I do not know, but honestly I didn’t care. I now had access to everything, or so it would seem.
The first few days were amazing. I had found a new distracter, a new tool to add to my arsenal when procrastination time came around. I looked up pictures of random people I only knew by face, tracked conversations of people I was friends with, and found pages and pages of unhealthily addicting games. Oh, those games.
So the first few days were amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed Facebook and was mad at my parents for depriving me of this joy for so long. But then the novelty wore off, as all novelties do. It became just another means of communication, just something to do occasionally. I no longer felt this need to go on and read people’s statuses. I found myself not caring.
I do still enjoy Facebook. I find it a great way to keep track of pictures from friends and to communicate with people whom you may have lost touch with. I do not, however, think that teens are missing out if they don’t have one. It is a nice social network; however, it is not a necessity for survival in high school.
If your teen desperately wants a Facebook account, as I did, make sure that as a parent you are educated in its safety features and that both you and your teen agree on proper Facebook “etiquette”. It can be seriously harmful later in life if pictures of high school parties resurface. They may even cost your child a job.