leads to real-world activities and enables an opportunity that otherwise
would have been lost.
In-person communication is nice
but not always available. Not only
does the digital world have the power
to build friendships, but it helps maintain them as well. In the past, when
students left home for university, they
lost a lot of their high school friends.
With Facebook, it is now easy to
stay and feel connected. People post
a miniature rundown of their lives
on their Facebook pages. By looking
at your friends’ pictures and comments, you are constantly updated
about how their lives are changing.
And you never have to worry about
being too busy to contact someone.
Texting, wall posts, e-mail, and instant
messaging are all at our disposal and
convenience, and you can always use
at least one without having to drop
everything for 30 minutes while you
The relationships of the digital generation of today are not lesser,
they’re just different. ... Social development simply develops, and
with the loss of old traditions comes the new.
make a long-distance phone call. You
can even “hang out” in a sense with
the multiple game and chat systems
available on Facebook.
The digital world is the world as the
tech generation knows it. On Facebook
you can find groups that share your
interests, which some teens in small
towns before found impossible. The
fact that these interactions happen over
a computer screen makes no difference
to a group of people who have grown
up learning how to effectively communicate using this resource.
The relationships of the digital generation of today are not lesser, they’re
just different. The art of conversation
is not the same. But does the generation before us worry about losing such
social nuances as standing when ladies
enter or introducing the younger to
the elder person first? Social development simply develops, and with the
loss of old traditions comes the new.
Face-to-face is not obsolete, of
course, but all the options available
via Facebook and other digital sources allow human relationships to stay
strong even when in-person interaction is not possible.
Tiffany Cassidy recently graduated from high
school in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, and
is now in her first year of prejournalism studies at
the University of Regina. Her favorite sources of
digital communication include Facebook and her
blog at tiffanycassidy.wordpress.com.
a handful of acronyms. Online social
networking may encourage dishonesty, especially in younger users, who
often lie about their ages to use sites
like Facebook or MySpace. And 90%
of online daters believe that other daters lie on Internet dating sites, whereas 20% admit to lying themselves,
according to a survey conducted by
Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The text-based interaction that occurs between the text-based versions
of people that they present online
does not always reflect the legitimacy
of a relationship. When you meet
someone through a website, it is often
only a filtered version of a stranger
or friend. The data show that even
people who are comfortable using
the Internet to socialize are reluctant
to fully trust what they see.
Along with trust, the value of friendships or relationships decreases in
cyberspace. Although people with
For social skills to grow and develop in a friendship or relationship,
people need to get out and see each other, hear each other, and
actually roll on the floor laughing instead of typing ROFL or JK into
an instant messenger. The letters ILY flashing on a screen do not mean
the same as the words “I love you” spoken aloud face to face, eye to eye.
healthy relationships in the real world
can use networking sites to stay in
touch, more often than not, true closeness is lost or nonexistent. If someone with more than 1,000 Facebook
“friends” wants to talk to all of them in
a day, he or she could spend less than
a minute with each. The communication, respect, and trust that a meaningful relationship necessitates can
be maintained with only a few close
friends at a time.
And for social skills to grow and
develop in a friendship or relationship, people need to get out and see
each other, hear each other, and actually roll on the floor laughing instead
of typing ROFL or JK into an instant
messenger. The letters ILY flashing on
a screen do not mean the same as the
words “I love you” spoken aloud face
to face, eye to eye.
The end result is that social networking sites can be isolating. Electronic media may undercut social
skills and the ability to recognize
nonverbal cues if people are spending that much time online—time
that could be spent having meaningful experiences sitting next to real
Jovel Queirolo is a senior at Convent of the
Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco.
She has a passion for storytelling through a
variety of mediums, including articles for her
school paper, poetry, short stories, and music.