As a student, I use Facebook almost every day. Most of the time this is purely out of boredom, however it does have its uses. After moving away from family and friends to go to university, I have found Facebook to be one of the easiest and most efficient ways to keep in contact with them and updated with what’s going on in their lives. Another great use of Facebook is the pages created for students which informs its ‘likers’ of current discounts and offers available, studentbeans.com, for example. Even my university has a Facebook page which updates its students with current events and important news related to the uni. In order to help one another when struggling or confused about an assignment, a fellow peer created a Facebook group for our English year. Although I often use Facebook to procrastinate, this Facebook group has helped me when I’ve been confused about referencing or uncertain about what to do for my assignment. If needed, I can simply post a comment on the group wall and, more often than not, three or four people will reply with the answer.
Unfortunately, there are many downsides to Facebook. As I previously mentioned, it’s an excellent place to procrastinate. Filled with hundreds of distractions, funny ‘Vine’ videos and addictive games like ‘Candy Crush,’ it’s easy to lose an hour or so without even noticing. Then there’s the ridiculous amount of pointless pictures people upload to Facebook which have been synced with their Instagram accounts. Pictures of food, pets and selfies with pouts; it’s all useless to me. I can appreciate the picture of your pet, and you look lovely in your selfie but did I really need to know what you had for lunch? I don’t have an Instagram account so maybe I don’t quite understand the hype. My friend once uploaded a picture of socks to Instagram purely to see how many likes it would get. It got around 10 likes within an hour of being uploaded. 10 likes for a picture of socks! Or maybe that’s really creative and I just don’t have the artistic eye to see this?
During high school I found that if there was an argument or fall out between peers at school this would then carry on to Facebook. There would be statuses set, one peer would edit a photo of the peer they had fallen out with and re-post this on Facebook or maybe set it as their profile picture. I never witnessed what I would call cyber bullying on Facebook. However, when websites such as Formspring became popular, due to the anonymity button on the site, one pupil decided to pretend to be another and sent argumentative messages to another pupil. This therefore created a lot of upset, particularly for the pupil who was being impersonated. Thankfully, this happened towards the end of Year 11 so the impersonated pupil managed to escape away from the situation to college before it got any worse.
High school was four years ago now and although I rarely see an argument on Facebook today, I still see people setting statuses about others without revealing the person’s identity. I understand some people see Facebook as somewhere to vent their feelings but surely it’s going too far when you’re writing a status aimed at another for all to see? In my opinion, Facebook statuses should be used to share jokes, something funny that happened to you, an amusing video, to share your interests or a provoking article. I don’t think it should be used to pull others down, beg for attention or update your friends with every moment of your day.
It is unfortunate that people abuse the site by using it to hurt others. Facebook was originally created to give people somewhere to socialise with others and share their interests but it has evolved into so much more. It is used for advertising and promoting products and companies. It has helped me find long, lost friends, to keep in touch with friends who have moved away, and broadened my knowledge of the world and the people in it through pages such as Upworthy and Humans of New York. Despite the endless amounts of rubbish found on it there’s a great amount of interesting and wonderful things, too.
At E-safety Support we would like to thank Rebecca for sharing her thoughts on this topic. If you would like to share your opinion about this or other e-safety topics, please use the comment section below or email firstname.lastname@example.org