The 21st century: a cyber generation

When the Internet was created in the 1970s, it was intended to be a more efficient and convenient way to research. However, with the new additions of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr, the social media world is starting to control the lives of millions, and not in a good way.

Launched back in 2004, Facebook has since grown to over 750 million members. YouTube follows closely behind with over 300 million subscribers, and Twitter draws over 200 million, with one of them being President Barack Obama.

It seemed like a smart idea at first: you were able to connect with people, friends, and strangers through video uploads, status updates, and 140 character messages. But now many people, mostly teenagers, are addicted to these websites, revolving practically their whole lives around them.

Not only are their whole lives sprawled over the Internet, making privacy a huge problem, but we have developed into such an impersonal society. There are no more handwritten letters when you can text or email and get a response faster. Books and newspapers are becoming scarce because they all happen to be online now.

While social networking sites let you talk to your friends 24/7 and make it easier and quicker to get assignments you miss in class or catch up on the latest gossip, what happened to face-to-face talks?

Fifty years ago, you weren’t even able to break up with someone via text message or by changing your relationship status on Facebook from “in a relationship” to “single.” You had to do it in person. Now we’re slowly losing touch of that, thinking it’s so much easier not to face the person, but it just shows disrespect, insincerity, and more importantly, that you’re a coward who can’t even step up to say it’s over.

Internet addiction will lead to less focus on education, which is a major step back, and lack of interaction and communication in person. It is also important to not forget about cyber bullying, which has caused the deaths of innocent people who were too young to die, especially by way of suicide.

We are raising an online generation that glues their faces to their computers, Facebook stalks (don’t try to deny it), and hides under the covers at 2 a.m. texting or checking if anyone has commented on a status or tweeted back.

Was this the vision the creators had when they invented these social networking sites? Did they want to have people die because of anonymous hurtful words left on their wall, to have an impersonal society where no more love letters are being sent in the mail, or to have a world where nothing but the Internet is important?

This problem cannot be solved overnight, and I highly doubt it will be solved at all. You can’t just shut down the Internet; it’s impossible.

We need to put down the phone and shut down the computer once in a while and see the people we talk to online face-to-face. You can’t see smiles or hear laughter through the monitor of your laptops. You can’t live life through them either.

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