An essay I wrote as part of an in-class exam for Active Citizenship, 2 years ago at college.
Youtube and Facebook
(written as a part of an in-class exam)
Essay Question: Youtube and Facebook-Discuss the problems surrounding this form of Media. Does it have any levels of success? What advice would you give to another young person who trusts online media completely?
In recent years the media has left the hands of the professionals, and in turn provided amateurs with a means of expressing themselves to the entire world. The rapid growth of media has provided a platform for people, young and old, amateur and professional, wise and unwise, in which to speak their mind. While many organizations and well-meaning people have used the Youtube and Facebook communities, many more fools and groups with negative messages are what draw the most attention from viewers around the world.
Facebook started out as a social networking site for people to connect, now a person's profile page is an open book for their beliefs, political views, and opinions about social issues. What was once a simple way to stay in touch with friends from high school and college, has now become an opportunity for citizens to push their own personal values on others. Because of the sensitive nature of some issues and the limited ability to clarify statements that could be misunderstood, some topics of discussion are better left for face-to-face conversations.
More and more young people have access to the internet, and with fewer controls than before. Even more frightening is that these young people are still forming their own set of values-and now have more points of view to contend with than just those of their parents. Strangers are now being invited into peoples' homes, without the consent of discerning adults, to mould the minds of young people. These children and young people need to learn a method of filtering these messages in order to make intelligent decisions.
Facebook is a breeding ground for predators. Despite the different networks, there are no controls in place to ensure that someone who claims to attend St. Mary's High School, really in fact does attend St. Mary's. An eight-year old with the know-how and a fifty-year old alike, can gain access to networks that are not within their realm of society. Once a person gains access to a network, they can view any profile in that network, view photographs, or worse yet, find personal information and stalk these young unsuspecting youth. It is necessary to inform anyone who uses these social networking sites that despite what they think, their information is not kept safe from everyone. People can change their networks within Facebook's community as often as they choose in order to remain undetected and access the most amount of sensitive information.
While we have now given millions more people access to reach the rest of the world, it has become our responsibility to teach those millions about their new found freedom. Just as we teach children in school to not talk to strangers, it would seem we need to tell anyone who accesses these sites the same truth. We must not take lightly this responsibility, and make ourselves aware of the ever-changing world around us.