An Analysis of Facebook’s Impact on Youth. By Nicola Austin c3130276
Contents• Definition of Social Networks• Brief History of Facebook• Facebook – In Simple English (YouTube clip)• Facebook Pie Graph• Facebook Statistics• Pro’s & Con’s• Influences on Education• Initial Problems• How do we adapt?• Profile Viewing• Privacy• Teen Behaviour• Identity Management• Conclusion
Definition of Social NetworksAccording to Merchant (2012), “The social network is a way of conceptualising socialgroupings and interaction;…In an era of technologised sociability, this conflation ofeveryday human experience with mediated communication is significant in itself associal interaction becomes almost synonymous with, and is some casesindistinguishable from, the technology that enables it.”Pempek et al. (2009) defines social networks in a more specific sense, “suchas Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal and Bebo, are member-basedinternet communities that allow users to post profile information, such as ausername and photograph, and to communicate with others in innovativeways such as sending public or private online messages or sharing photosonline.”
Brief HistoryAcquisti & Gross (2005) explain, “Inrecent years online social networkinghas moved from niche phenomenonto mass adoption. Although theconcept dates back to the 1960’s,viral growth and commercial interestonly arose well after the advent ofthe Internet. The rapid increase inparticipation in very recent years hasbeen accompanied by a progressive Facebook was launched in Februarydiversification and sophistication of 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. The Harvardpurposes and usage patterns across University student launched thea multitude of different sites.” program from his dormitory room.
Facebook – In Simple English. Click on either the Facebook icon or YouTube link!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJJNM2KWYtc
“ Online social networking could be seen as a newerway of enhancing or modifying pre-existingrelations- with the term probably best used as away of capturing, in a rather general way, the useof web-based communication to build or maintainsuch things as friendship or interest groups,extended family ties, and professional, political orreligious affiliations.” (Merchant, 2011)
Facebook users per age group in Australia 2012 4% 5% 7% 6% 13-15 12% 16-17 23% 18-24 25-34 35-44 17% 45-54 55-64 26% 65+ http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/visualizations/percentage- of-facebook-users-per-a
Fun Facebook Stats!•Approximately 100,000 new •Brisbane is the most Facebook-Facebook accounts were created obsessed city, with the highesteach month in 2011. percentage of Facebook penetration, •There are over 10.7 million followed by Perth, Sydney,Australians actively using Facebook Melbourne and Adelaide.(log in at least once every 30 days) – •Three areas of Melbourne Airportover 60% of the online population were included in the top 5 most •54% of Australian Facebook users popular places to check-in inare female, 46% are male. Australia for 2011 (including number •The largest age group of Facebook 1 and 2)users in Australia is 25-34 year olds, •The average Australian user spendsfollowed by 18-24 year olds. 26 minutes and 27 seconds on •In 2011, more than 28% of all Facebook every time they log andAustralians on Facebook were will spend 6 hours and 46 minutes onbetween the ages of 35 and 54 Facebook per month <http://thesocialskinny.com/100-social-media-statistics-for-2012/>
PRO’So Meeting new people.o Connecting with family and friends in different countries.o Ability to receive news and gossip in a rapid time.o Share pictures and stories about your life with others.o The ability to share data, interesting facts and educational findings with others.o New way of learning.
CON’S o Identity theft. o Time consuming and distraction. o Excessive gossip. o Strangers. o Online bullying. o Teens searching for the wrong attention.
Influences on EducationAs the everyday use of web 2.0 andsocial networking sites increase, ithas been debated as to how mucheducators should be incorporatingthis new way of socialising andlearning into their curriculum.“Some of the difficulties thateducators face in tapping into theirstudents’ experiences in the contextof formal education may be beyondtheir control, constrained bycurriculum and assessment regimesas well as institutional policies…”(Merchant, 2011)
Initial Problems According to Merchant, (2011) some of the difficulties educators may face in regards to their students and social networking sites (SNS) are: - Open and unfiltered access to online interaction. - Perceived notion that teenagers are more expert than their teachers when it comes to popular culture. - Lack of knowledge or familiarity.
However…“SNSs clearly do provide opportunities forgeographically and temporally dispersed groupsand individuals to communicate, exchangeinformation and develop ideas, and from thisperspective, we may be able to glimpse somenew ways of structuring learning communities.” (Davies & Merchant, 2009b).
So, how do we adapt?The main priority for educators is to be able to engagewith and understand their students. The problem beingmany of our teachers are unfamiliar with this new way oflearning, as they have not grown up in a technologydominant society.Merchant, (2011) suggests three solutions for ourteachers:1. Learning about SNSs2. Learning from SNSs3. Learning with SNSs
Learning about SNSs“This is crucial in understanding the worlds thatour students inhabit as well as identifying theknowledge, skills and dispositions involved associal and cultural capital.” (Merchant, 2011).Having the knowledge to create awareness about theinternet and it’s resources is helpful for teachers sothey are able to educate students on important issueswhich may sometimes be overlooked such as; privacy,safety and responsibility.
Learning from SNSsOne advantages of SNSs is the fact it has created a new way ofcommunicating and learning between, either individuals orgroups. It is a fresh approach to not only learning but also teach,so learning to interact with these sites in an educational mannercan benefit students and teachers but offering a diverse learningtool to expand our overall knowledge."By understanding how students may be positively using thesenetworking technologies in their daily lives and where the as-yet-unrecognized educational opportunities are, we can help makeschools even more relevant, connected, and meaningful to kids.“(Greenhow, C. 2011)
Learning with SNSsMerchant (2011) believes this strategy “involves making use of leaners’existing online social networks to support and extend curriculum based work.”Examples of ways in which we can extend the curriculum using SNSs are:- By using it as a resource for collaborative learning- Express different ideas and having the freedom to share links and other interesting websites to others"Think about not only incorporating technology into your lessons, but creatingmore and more compelling assignments so that 21st century skills, the kindsof things students will have to develop in terms of critical thinking, problemsolving, collaboration, global participation -- that these are incorporated intoassignments. The best spaces will incorporate social media, and interactingwith others.” (Cator,K. 2011)
Who is Viewing your Profile?Privacy has been a major issue “Personal data is generouslywhen it comes to SNSs and the provided and limiting privacyInternet. Many people are preferences are sparingly used.oblivious or unconcerned over Due to the variety of richness ofthe seriousness of personal personal information disclosed in Facebook profiles, their visibility,privacy. their public linkages to the members’ real identities, and the scope of the network, users may put themselves at risk for a variety of attacks on their physical and online persona.” (Acquisti & Gross, 2011.)
Percentages of Profiles Revealing Types of Personal Information (Acquisti & Gross, 2005)
Privacy Proof your Page!Simple tips to ensure your personal information issecure. Ensure your Facebook privacy settings are set correctly. For example, set your profile to be viewed by ‘friends only’. That way anyone you have not agreed to be friends with on Facebook will not have access to your information. Don’t add or accept ‘friend requests’ from unknown people. Don’t display your house address or phone number on Facebook.
“naming is always an exercise in power… Thefuture of cyberspace, therefore, will bedetermined not only through the invention ofnew hardware, but also through the names weemploy to describe it.” (Gunkel & Gunkel, 1997:133)
Crying out for Attention? Many people in the community feel that social networking sites, like Facebook, are just used for a place for teens to whinge and draw unnecessary attention to themselves. This image is quite a mild case compared to some of the posts displayed about committing suicide. Arguably, this is a major factor as to why SNSs can be viewed as an unhealthy habit or influence on teens.
Why are teens behaving this way?“It becomes apparent from relevant researchthat online social networks simultaneouslysuggest genres of behaviour through theirarchitectural elements to the behavioural idiomsof their users, who customize them to connectbetter their offline and online interactions.” (Papacharissi, 2009)
Offline vs. Online IdentitiesThe impression we make of “In some sense, people haveourselves to others and the more control online – they areway we convey these identities able to carefully choose whatis a vital part of everyday life, information to put forward,especially for teenagers who thereby eliminating visceralare trying to work out who reactions that might havethey are and where they fit seeped out in everydayinto society. communication. At the same time, these digital bodies are fundamentally coarser, making it far easier to misinterpret what someone is expressing.” (Boyd, 2007)
“While what teens present may or may notresemble their offline identity, their primaryaudience consists of peers that they knowprimarily offline- people from school, church,work, sports teams, etc. Because this direct linkbetween offline and online identities, teens areinclined to present the side of themselves thatthey believe will be well received by thesepeers.” (Boyd, 2007)
ConclusionResearch into the rapidly evolving world of digital culture will continue for manyyears, the impacts it has on our teens in only one small aspect of this expandingnew world.It seems evident, teens are slowly trying to work out where they stand in societyin both online and offline communities. Both, appearing to be completelydifferent worlds.A dominant reason as to why the internet seems to be affecting teens is simplybecause some of the older generation are unaware of the processes involved withthe online community. Therefore, drawing a line of division and providing a gapbetween these two generations. Making it difficult to be able to communicateand understand each other.Education about SNSs seems to be a key asset in ensuring, not only our youth butour community are aware of the impact of digital culture. However, theimportance of embracing this new phenomenon must not be over looked.The forever expanding opportunities available from the internet will allowindividuals to expand their knowledge and skills in multiple ways. The use ofinternet and the influence of digital culture is only going to grow, so it is ourresponsibility to embrace this change in society and educate upcoming youth tomaximise our chances of a successful and technologically advanced future.
Bibliography- Acquisti, A. & Gross, R. (2005) Information Revelation and Privacy in Online Social Networks (The Facebook Case). ACM Workshop on privacy in the electronic society (WPES)- Boyd, D. (2007) Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Learning – Youth, Identity, and Digital Media Volume (ed. David Buckingham). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.- Cator, K. (2011) Social Networking in Schools: Educators Debate the Merits of Technology in Classrooms. Huff Post Education. Retrieved on 24/10/12 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/27/social-networking-schools_n_840911.html- Merchant, G. (2012) Unravelling the Social Network: theory and research, Learning, Media and Technology, 37:1, 4-19.- Papacharissi, Z. (2009) The Virtual Geographies of Social Networks: a comparative analysis of Facebook, Linkedln and ASmallWorld. New Media & Society. Sage Publications at univ of Illinois at Chicago Library.- Pempek T, Yermolayeva Y & Calvert S. (2009) College Students’ social networking experiences on Facebook. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Department of Psychology, Georgetown University, USA.- YouTube clip- Facebook in Simple English. (2010) Retrieved 10/10/12 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJJNM2KWYtc