Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Local Teens Unfriending Facebook

Ariana Hendrix - July 14th, 2014  

Teens are leading a new trend away from Facebook and toward a stream of new social media options—some of which have local school officials concerned.

As the popularity of newer, quicker, “cooler” social networks continues to rise, Facebook has seen a dramatic drop in users—6 million in the United States just in the last month— and trends show that the middle- and high-school age demographic is one of the biggest contributors.

Why are teens turning away from Facebook? Because their parents and grandparents are using it -- and watching, commenting on, and monitoring their activity.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘out,’” says Grace, a 14 year-old at Traverse City West Senior High. “Most of the people my age still have a Facebook, but we’re definitely moving away from it. A lot of our parents have gone on, and all the family is on Facebook now.”

Erin Monigold, owner of TC-based Social Vision Marketing, says statistics validate Grace and her friends. While Facebook usage among teens has dropped, its highest growing group is baby boomers – those 55 and up.

With teens’ shift away from Facebook, a myriad of new social networking apps have continued to pop up. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, Vine, Kik, Pheed, and Ask.fm are what local teens say are most popular now, many of which aren’t even in most adults’ lexicons.

Of course, with expression among teens comes the possibility for inappropriate behavior or misuse, which is where school officials become concerned.

One of the most controversial apps is Snapchat, a photo-messaging service that now has 350 million users, most of whom are 13- 23 year-olds. Snapchat allows users to send photos and videos that self-destruct after (at most) ten seconds, offering a seemingly consequence-free environment. However, it’s possible for recipients to take “screen shots” of received images, saving photos that might have otherwise been deleted.

A fall 2013 Traverse City Central High School newsletter alerted parents to some of the new media—including Snapchat—suggesting that parents should be aware of what their students are using, and for what purposes.

Across town at TC West Senior High, Principal Joe Tibaldi agrees that parents should be made aware of what’s new, and that students should be educated in social media’s consequences.

“I think social media can be beneficial, depending on how it’s used,” Tibaldi says. “But some are riskier than others, so we try to educate students about the ramifications. We plan to have a parent meeting again this year on social media to let parents know how they can monitor it better.”

For most teens, new types of social media are simply another way to have fun and connect with friends.

“Honestly, for me, Snapchat is me and my friends making ugly faces at each other to be funny. I haven’t noticed anyone in my age group using it for anything inappropriate,” says Grace.

Ultimately, says Monigold, whether it’s Facebook or any of its competitors, social media will continue to change, becoming a natural part of communication to which all demographics will have to adjust.

“Social media is constantly evolving; it’s really the nature of the beast.”

This article was adapted from a piece in the Traverse City Ticker

 
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