‘Tis the season to be jolly — or no?
Parents may not be so jolly because with the Christmas season comes buying tons of expensive gifts for us — your amazing offspring. I am positive that I am not the only person who desires an iPad or another amazing piece of technology for Christmas. Parents, as a result, are conflicted. Should they get their child yet another tool to use to communicate online with friends all day via social media? The answer is absolutely!
Social networks allow teens to strengthen their current friendships. As a psychology major, I have discovered that friendships are important all throughout the lifespan. They are especially important to adolescents. Studies have shown that teens must communicate feelings and emotions often in order to strengthen their friendships, especially girls. Social networks allow teens to use online communication to chat with existing fiends.
Social networks also lead to the creation of weak ties that may be beneficial at some point in life. Teens may have over 800 friends on Facebook, but they may only talk with 10 of them on a daily basis. What’s the purpose of the other 790? Studies show that these connections can be beneficial for future favors. For example, classmates who miss a day of class often instant message me on Facebook to ask me what was covered that day in class.
Online communication can be beneficial for the social well-being of adolescents, especially if they have warm, attentive parents to monitor their Internet behavior. The many features of online communication allow teens to benefit socially by strengthening current friendships and via the formation of weak, beneficial ties. Don’t worry, parents … you’re still more important than those 3,089 Facebook friends or those 984 Instagram followers.
TENICA L. WILLIAMS
EDITOR’S NOTE: Tenica L. Willliams is a senior at Mercer University.