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Our Way is Better

Updated on June 13, 2014

In her article, “Generation FB,” Katrin Bennhold researches the impacts of social networking on today’s “Generation Why Not?” She examines these impacts by going back to her old school and noting the changes in children of this generation. In this article, she talks about three general ideas: children’s perspectives on social networking; how social networking and technology affects the health and behavior of children; and the consequences of revealing personal information on social networking sites. While engaging in conversations with children, she discovers that they express their views on social networking as if it were the only thing that matters to them. She observes that the victims of ADD have increased over the years due to the fact that most children spend more than two hours in front of an electronic screen. She also notices changes in bullying and dating etiquette. I think Bennhold’s article brings out children’s opinion on social networking and allows older generations to be aware of their strong opinion on the subject.

As Bennhold talks to children on their views of social networking, she learns that social networking has changed the way the new generation maneuvers. In her conversation with 19-year-old Trevor Dougherty, she deduces that children view social networking as a better way of communicating in contrast to email and cell phones. She then picks up that social networking allows children to multi-task and collaborate with each other. She also perceives that social networking is “of their time,” recognizing that it is the new way of exchanging information. Bennhold, by monitoring an 18-year-old Arne Thate, witnesses that social networking is also entertaining and provides lots of information from which children learn. In her investigation, she concludes that social networking affects the new generation rather than previous ones. She figures this out when she encounters the geography teacher, Dagmar Rosner, who says that students believe everything on Internet is true. In Bennhold’s analysis of effects caused by social networking, the children exhibit a stronger opinion in behalf of social networking than anybody else.

Another argument present in this article is that social networking affects the behavior and health of children. In the school of Ratsgymnasium in Osnabruck, teachers have found that children nowadays have poor spelling and short attention spans. One even says “This is an ADD epidemic in the making.” Children have used social networking and technology so much that they don’t even know their own phone numbers since there is hard disk that can store it. During her colloquy with the Headmaster Lothar Wehleit, the headmaster points out that at the end of one class period the children understand the concept taught in class, but by the next class they all forget it. After the students leave school they spend all their time in front of an electronic screen of some sort. This puts different impressions on their mind and leads them to forget what they learned in class. Bennhold also clears the catchphrase that when teenagers are ‘on,’ their brains are off. Students also make clear that they spend at least two hours a day in front of an electronic screen, which reinforces the argument that the number of children with ADD has been increasing. No physical activity has stagnated the function of cells in the bodies of these children. In this section of the article, the previous generations present stronger opinions that social networking is an addiction. This is probably due to the fact that they still have to catch up with social networking since it is such a modern thing and many older people haven’t bothered trying it out.

Bennhold also proposes that it may not be safe to put personal information on social networking sites. She finds it ok when it is used for the purposes of dating. As explained to her by a 19-year-old Leo Laun, she understands that it is a more efficient way of scouting for a girl. All her information is online and most importantly, her status indicates whether she is single or not. However, sharing personal information, as described in the last section of the article, can lead to cyber-bullying. Bennhold expresses that sharing personal information on social networking sites has lead to multiple cyber-bullying cases. As stated in her article, a mean girl creates a fictional boy character who asks another girl out on a date and the girl accepts and shows up to the date, only to be insulted by a bunch of mean girls. Another incident was barely prevented since the student got caught right as he was uploading a friend’s picture onto a gay site “as a joke.” These cases of cyber-bullying show that sharing personal information on social networking sites can lead to serious consequences. I take this issue like anything else: everything has positives and negatives

Throughout the article “Generation FB,” Bennhold argues that social networking has its positives and its negatives. Many children use the positives-- to learn, communicate, and play games-- but some children use the negatives as well-- playing pranks and bullying. Although children hold a strong viewpoint on social networking, members of the previous generation seem to only analyze the negative consequences and discourage social networking. I agree with Bennhold in that there are positive and negative consequences to using social networking, because, in recent times, there have been many problems associated with cyberbullying from social networking sites. In addition, she shows that social networking affects the younger generations because it is “of their time.” It can be compared to the introduction of the television. Lots of younger people who were being brought up during that time seemed to enjoy and watch it more than older generations who caught on slowly. As interestingly showed by Bennhold, social networking has changed the routine of life in “Generation Why-Not?.”


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