There’s been a lot of media attention on the subject of cyber bullying and sexting. And some great resources like Cybersmart have been developed to help families and young people manage their presence online.
What I want to blog about today, is the pain of being a teenager in the Facebook generation.
I am so grateful Facebook wasn’t around when I was in my teens.
I was a diary-keeping gal. And a photo-taking gal. I have hundreds of photos of my girlfriends and I, in very bad acid wash jeans, perms and knitted jumpers. Wearing braces, sporting spots, holding up Midnight Oil tickets, reading Dolly magazine, drinking cask wine, and all the things you generally want to forget now …
If Facebook had been around, I would have undoubtedly been growing up online, sharing every painful experience and gauche thought, stumbling through relationships and avowing to the world that I wanted to dedicate myself to saving the seals.
Instead, I’m 40 years old and have reluctantly accepted the friend requests of a few teenagers. And their status updates make me squirm. It’s natural for teenagers to struggle along through puberty, to feel hyper sensitive at times, or like they can’t do anything right. But somebody needs to guide them and advise them: YOU DON’T HAVE TO SHARE IT ALL ON FACEBOOK.
Let’s put together a 101 for teens. A 101 that will save them pain later on. Just as we do with career advice, or relationship advice. My top 3?
1.Less is more. Don’t give us a blow by blow – the highlights will do. Don’t post every photo, just the best one.
2.It CAN happen if it doesn’t happen on Facebook. Make sure you enjoy your time in the real world. Don’t get hung up on recording everything for your Facebook friends. Keep some things to yourself – it makes it more special. And you’ll look cooler. Not desperate.
3.Think of your Page in 10 years time. This is a digital record of your life that your future husband/wife/children/employers might read. Don’t argue with people online. Don’t wail at the world when your boyfriend dumps you. What seems like a disaster today will only be a blip in a few months time. Take a breath before you post. Write it down somewhere else if that makes you feel better.
What do you think? What would you say to the Teenage You?