Expanded communication beneficial to teens

Social media allows for worldwide interaction

In today’s culture, where the media has become prominent in everyday life, teenagers should use their resources to communicate and make connections with others on a global level. With approximately 7.5 billion people in the world, according to worldometers.info, it is strange to assume that every person worth meeting is one of the 19,132 people in Newton, Kan. By networking with others, people are able to build lifelong relationships with members of all cultures.

Many adults advocate for the saying ‘Stranger Danger’ and believe that meeting people online is dangerous. According to a survey conducted by pewinternet.org, 30 percent of parents believe that social media and the internet have a negative effect on their children. While on some level that is understandable, parents need to consider the benefits of communicating with strangers worldwide.

Not every person on the internet is a predator, in most cases the users of the internet and social media are teenagers. According to pewinternet.org, 81 percent of social media users are teenagers and out of that remaining 19 percent, only 33 percent are sexual predators. Using those statistics, out of the 3.6 billion users of the internet, only 165 million are convicted predators. The majority of teens are aware of internet safety and know how to manage and report a predator on the internet. Conversely, many parents still do not approve of their children communicating with strangers around the world. Teenagers are capable of decision making and knowing not to meet with strangers in person unless fully certain that it is a safe interaction. Today’s teenagers have grown up with the internet at their fingertips and have learned both the dangers and benefits of social media and know how to remain safe when meeting and communicating with strangers.

By exposing oneself to different people they are able to recognize the different views of others. It is wrong to assume that all friends or people others relate to will reside in the town of Newton, Kan. Social media platforms expose teenagers to people who share the same interests as them and help them to interact with the world around them. According to pewinternet.org, 61 percent of teens have made friends through the internet. While many teenagers are criticized for constantly being on their phones or living through social media, not many people realize that they are interacting with people, not blocking them out. By using the internet and social media to communicate with different people, one is able to find other’s similar and more compatible for them. For many, it is often easier to communicate with others through the internet and social media than in person.

While internet safety should be promoted, one’s culture does not need to automatically assume that every person on the internet is a predator. People today live in a world where everyone can be connected worldwide and that should be used to each person’s advantage. By making connections with those outside one’s town a person is able to expand their knowledge of the world and grow as a person.