Reflection about Generation FB
This article written by Katrin Bennhold seeks to explore the effect social networking sites especially Facebook has on teenagers. She goes back to her former high school in northwest Germany to embed herself in the lives of the students and interview the teachers on the impact of social media on the students’ school lives. She compares the students with herself at their age, juxtaposing their social dynamics with those she experienced about 20 years earlier. She finds parallels in their activities, notes the negative and positive outcome of the obsession with social media, and sees how some aspects of teenage life have acquired new possibilities. She worries about what the adults in this generation will turn out to be.
I think these worries are unfounded. According to some of the findings of the article, this Generation Why Not is an innovative and open-minded generation that is not afraid to explore non-conventional ways of doing things. They learn from their peers across the globe. They are not tied down by cultural norms and prejudices. They have set themselves free of the hierarchical bounds of past generations. This generation does not accept the defined way of doing things but questions and sets new standards. The writer found that this generation may not fit in with the older generations, but they are well in their time. They can collaborate on a myriad of issues with their peers from around the world.
The teachers interviewed brought up several issues they had noticed about the learning abilities of the students. Their attention span was constantly disparaged as insufficient for learning to take place effectively. The students posited in retort that the system had not been changed for decades. This propagates the question whether the archaic system is to blame for the increasing incidents of declining performance in schools. The students clearly have an aptitude to take up new things; hence, this same aptitude can be extended to school with the right motivation. Just as the students have found new, innovative ways to conduct their social lives, and by extension their hobbies, so should a new system be installed to cater to the needs of this generation.
The writer put forward that this generation has a relaxed attitude to privacy. This makes them more open and selfless with their knowledge. It might be a positive attribute when they become leaders, as they will espouse integrity and transparency. The current systems are shrouded in secrecy and bureaucracy that makes it impossible for outsiders to assess their function. This openness makes Generation Why Not better at collaborative efforts among themselves and speaks volumes of their abilities to amass support behind their causes in future. They might make better leaders in the future.
The internet and social networking sites in particular have changed the social dynamics of this generation. The students at Bennhold’s former high school still engage in the social activities Bennhold did 20 years ago such as dating, gossiping and playing pranks on each other. The difference is that social media is part of their lives now. The danger of some of these activities is real, but the overall effect is positive in terms of expanding their networks of friends and staying in touch with friends found around the world. Their horizons are expanded by the interactions they have with their virtual friends, and they are ingenious at tackling some of the challenges they face. Bennhold need not worry – these teenagers are changing the course of their future one update at a time.
Bennhold, Katrin. “Generation FB.” New York Times 23 June 2011. Electronic.