Shopping For Facebook- How Target Ads Benefit Businesses.

Last week during my daily (ok, hourly) Facebook scroll there was an ad on my news feed that caught my eye. What I found interesting was how it ended up on my news feed in the first place. I hadn’t visited the site before, nor had I searched for the product on any other site, yet it was something that I never knew I wanted, I just had to buy it.

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                          Illustrated by Anithra Ratnayake, September 2016

In a previous blog post I said that social media sites sometimes know us even better than we know ourselves. The idea of this can be quite unnerving,is that how they knew I was planning on travelling to the Maldives in the summer and therefore needed beach accessories?

The ads that appear on your Facebook feed are there for a reason, they are targeted directly at you and the type of person that they believe you are.

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Illustrated by Anithra Ratnayake, September 2016

 

Traditionally, advertising was seen as a media message that the audience was expected to consume. Through the process of social media advertising however, individuals are now able to “become part of creating, developing and distributing advertising content” (Kim, et. al, 2015, p. 323). When we are shown advertisements that we are genuinely interested in seeing, we are more likely to interact and share that content with our friends.

Why facebook- (2)
                                                                                                                              Infograph created by Anithra Ratnayake via Canva, September 2016

 

Social media sites are invaluable to businesses when it comes to advertising. The infograph on the right highlights the top three reasons why companies are using Facebook for advertising.

All three of these reasons come together because of target advertising. This means that now companies can ensure that they are reaching their most relevant demographics. By doing this, it also ensures that no funds are wasted as “the aim of sophisticated targeting through advertising is not to waste a single eyeball” (Curran, et.al, 2011, p. 29).

The rise of target advertising on social media comes as no surprise. One of the main reasons people log on to social media is to interact with friends and content that they are interested in. Therefore when it comes to advertising on social media, companies need to make sure that they are visible on profiles that share common interests with their products. People don’t want annoyance and interruption while browsing through their news feed, target marketing guarantees that ads reach their most relevant audiences.

Facebook offers a range of campaigns for businesses to choose from. Like Ads and their ‘clicks to website’ features are just two of the many that are on offer. My friend recently launched an active wear line and she used both these features to generate more traffic on her website and her Facebook page. The interview below touches on some of her experiences using the site and highlights some of the benefits this type of advertising can have on small businesses.

There is no question that advertising on social media is one of the most efficient methods a business can adopt to ensure their most relevant demographic is reached.

When it comes to the privacy concerns that arise from this, what we most often fail to see is that we too benefit from this method of advertising, as the poll results above indicate, the ads we see on Facebook are now ones that we most often want to see, and that doesn’t seem too bad does it?

Word count: 542 (not including captions & Citations)

 

References

Curran, K, Graham, S, & Temple, C 2011, ‘Advertising on Facebook’, International Journal of E-Business Development, vol.1, no.1, p.29

Kim, S, Lee, J, & Yoon, D 2015, ‘Norms in Social Media: The Application of Theory of Reasoned Action and Personal Norms in Predicting Interactions With Facebook Page Like Ads’, Communication Research Reports, vol. 32, no. 4, p. 323. Available from: 10.1080/08824096.2015.1089851. [6 September 2016].

 

Music in podcast

Good Morning by LAKEY INSPIRED CC BY 3.0

Chapter One.

The classes that I take whilst completing my media and communication degree at university really seem to be testing my creativity. For this particular class I was asked to write the first chapter of a horror novel- honestly I just had so much fun writing it, I just had to share it! Hope you enjoy reading it 🙂 


Somerset Park was a town that didn’t live up to its name. The town wasn’t sunny and cheerful like its name implied; instead the irony behind its name was almost humorous with its constant icy temperature and eerie atmosphere. It’s fauna was arranged in such a way that it enveloped the entire town creating an almost marquee like feature which prevented any sunlight from seeping through. To a visitor this might even have seemed beautiful with its almost mystical qualities. The trees were bent and twisted around the town as if they were performing an act in their own Cirque-Du-Solei. But no one new ever visited Somerset Park, no one new ever came in and no one old ever left.

The people of the town could be described as peculiar folk, it almost as if they were plucked out from the 1900s as if they were berries and placed in a basket that is the 21st century. The town only really came alive at night; its residents emerged from their antique homes and wondered about seemingly unaffected by the howling of the wind. The sound of the wind in Somerset Park was worth mentioning, each ferocious gust sounded like a Halloween themed orchestra that never changed its tune. The leaves of the dancers rustled eerily in tune with the orchestra and every once in awhile you could hear what sounded like a cry for help so faint that it was easy to dismiss it as a figment of your imagination. Maybe it was, no one else seemed to be bothered by it.

I cannot wait to get out of this place, Saarah thought to herself as she stood impatiently in the middle of the town square. Sure, she had never actually left Somerset but something inside her knew that she didn’t really belong here. The entire town to her always seemed like a mystery that she could never solve, something wasn’t right about this place, and the older she got the harder it was for her to ignore.

Her family life was quite normal. It wasn’t as if her parents didn’t love her, nevertheless there was always a sinking feeling she had that there was more that meets the eye. Her parents were almost identical looking, strikingly beautiful with pale skin and deep red lips, their eyes so black and shiny that they almost looked red. Saarah’s own appearance was quite similar, although she definitely had more colour on her skin, maybe that was because they never went out in the sun. The thing that struck her most about them though, was that in the last 17 years they had never seemed to age, throughout the 17 years that Saarah had spent growing up, not one wrinkle had crept through their porcelain skin. To be fair though she couldn’t really remember what they looked like when she was a toddler, they weren’t the type of family that took a lot of pictures; in fact there was not one family album in the house. At the entrance of their home, there was a portrait of two people who had a striking resemblance to her caregivers, but surely it wasn’t. The two people in the painting looked as if they had been drawn straight out of a novel in the 1900s, but no one could live that long, could they?

The only saving grace she had growing up in Somerset Park was her brother, Sebastian, not any more though, in the last two years he too had become increasingly distant, he was no longer the carefree teenager he used to be. She still remembered the night that it had all changed; he had come home one stormy night looking pale and frightened, as if he had seen a ghost. Her parents had immediately taken him upstairs to the one room in the entire house that for as long as she could remember, they had always been forbidden to enter and had emerged after an hour or so looking as if nothing had happened, from that day on, everything about Sebastian changed, his usual attire of bright, graphic t shirts were traded in for plain black ones, in fact that was all he wore now, black. It seemed to be the unofficial colour of the town. Since that day, although Sebastian seemed cool and confident most of the time, once in while Saarah still saw the look of terror that remained in his eyes, like a scar that remained on someone after an incalculably traumatising accident.

Focus. Don’t let your mind wander, Saarah scolded herself; she was here for a reason. Earlier that day she had found a note in her locker that she was sure was her induction into the ‘cool kids club’ after years of admiring them from afar, her time had finally come. They had finally noticed her. All the years she had spent doing their homework and trying to make eye contact with them while walking down the school halls had finally paid off, they wanted to be her friend. The note itself was pretty cryptic, a plain white piece of paper with the words ‘Graveyard, midnight’ scrawled on it in perfect calligraphy. Sure, it seemed like an odd place to meet but they were popular for a reason right, they did things that normal people would find odd.

As Saarah made her way through the town square she couldn’t let go of the feeling that she was being watched. Every couple of minutes she felt a presence behind her, one that seemed so close she could almost feel its icy cold breath exhaling on the back of her neck. She turned around for what felt like the millionth time since she had set off from her house, but there was no one there. The only people she could see were a significant distance from her, she caught the eye of Sebastian who was talking to a friend across the street, he looked at her knowingly. Something was not right.

Too late to back out now, you’re here, she thought as she approached the ancient castle like doors that stood as the entrance to the town’s graveyard, she entered cautiously. It was 11.58 two minutes until her life would change forever. She couldn’t help but feel uneasy as she looked around, how could a place seem so full yet so empty at the same time? Each tombstone was neatly arranged in almost soldier like format, each with varying levels of upkeep; some looked like they had been there for centuries and as a result were close to crumbling as no one ever visited since their loved ones had too passed on, and in the other extreme there were new and smooth marble with clear writing as fresh floral tributes laid by the mourners they left behind.

She heard a rustle of trees to her left and the hairs on the back of her neck stood up as straight as a ruler. She turned to face the noise, there was a figure standing there caped all in black from head to toe, all she could see were there eyes as red as blood staring directly at her through the bushes gesturing at her to follow. She knew what she had to do. She followed.

Walking through the graveyard she realised that she was following the figure to the abandoned section, not that she spent that much time hanging out at the town graveyard but in the handful of times she had visited she had never seen anyone around there, the metal fence created a wall and behind it lied an old abandoned tomb that seemed like It had just ripped straight out of a horror movie. As they approached closer and closer she managed to get a better view of her pied piper. She couldn’t tell if the figure was male or female, the gigantic cape it had on did well to hide any clues towards their gender, however as the figure turned once more to make sure she was still following, Saarah managed to catch a glimpse of their face.

It was a face she recognised but at the same time had never seen before, almost creature like, their red eyes pierced through her and immediately she felt uneasy. This better be worth it, Saarah thought to herself. The crippling fear she felt only faded when she reminded herself that this was most probably just these kids way of testing her, seeing if she was brave enough to follow them, confident enough to belong. She was. I am.

 After what seemed like hours they finally reached the entrance to the tomb. 11.59, she was right on time. In all the anticipation she had created whilst walking through the graveyard, Saarah hadn’t noticed that the creature like figure that she had followed here had now disappeared as if by magic. The entrance to the tomb was open; the force of the wind pushed her towards the ancient, ghostly looking door, howling while doing so like a pack of wolves howling at the full moon. It was too late to back out now, taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she stepped into the tomb.

The door slammed shut behind her, there was a reason no one ever went near this tomb, it looked as if had been there for centuries, so old that the bodies that once laid there had decomposed leaving only bones behind. Spiders had made this place their home, cobwebs were apparently their décor of choice, with each unique masterpiece laid around the tomb as if they were paintings in a luxurious house. It was only then that she spotted the man standing in the middle of the tomb eyeing her with an almost childlike interest. The contrast between his white marble skin and deep red eyes was almost majestic, with his dark black shoulder length hair pasted so near to his skin that it looked like it had been painted on. He wore a cape too, but unlike the creature-human she had followed here, the cape he wore was red and flowed 4 feet behind him like a bride in a wedding dress. As he opened his mouth to speak, it dawned on Saarah that she should have listened to her instincts, something wasn’t right about this place, what had she gotten herself into, how fast could she get away from here. She looked down at her watch. Midnight. He spoke.

 “Welcome Saarah, We have been expecting you”.

Social Media Surveillance- How Concerned should we be?

Along with the rest of the world I have become a victim of the Pokemon Go phenomenon- I find myself spending endless hours searching for Pokemon everywhere that I go- I just have to catch ’em all!

Recently though I have been seeing a lot of articles that are questioning the privacy settings of the game- claiming that its makers will have access to private information which among others includes access to our emails. Of course, since this has come to light the company has made statements claiming that they are doing their best to rectify the matter. All this chatter has gotten me wondering about all the other games and social media that we use constantly throughout the day and if we are unknowingly (or sometimes even knowingly) giving people access to information about ourselves.

Most games or even productivity apps for that matter all require you to sign up using either an email address or a social media account such as Facebook or Twitter. I myself am one of those lazy people who opt to use my Facebook account to sign up most of the time so that I don’t have to spend those extra seconds typing in my email address and password in order to set everything up. The disclaimer at the bottom stating that “this app does not post to Facebook without your permission” tends to give me some sense of security.

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Self Snitch by Poster Boy CC BY 2.0

My privacy settings on Facebook are set at its highest to the extent that only around 30 of my 800 friends have full access to my entire profile. In this day and age however, I don’t think that should give anyone any sense of security- information is almost too easy to find these days- If there is a will there is a way, right?

Social media knows a lot about us. Sometimes even more than we know about ourselves. I know that the idea of this may seem scary- at the same time however, what we don’t realise is that we do have some control through things like privacy setting. As social media users, it can be said that control is in our hands and as a result we are able to “choose whom to accept or deny as friends” (Fuchs et al, 2013. p.91). This gives us the opportunity to be strategic in what we post and what messages that it send out to the world.

 

Tweet embedded from my twitter profile on the 27th of July 2016

 

This article that I tweeted out however, concerns me somewhat. I understand that safety and security will be some of the reasons that Facebook would use to justify their ability to read your Facebook messages- but the very thought that they can do it is somewhat unsettling isn’t it? The article does say that Facebook is now offering us the option of turning on encryption so that they won’t be able to access messages, so at least now we can feel that our privacy is somewhat protected.

The fact of the matter is that all social media sites use one method of surveillance or another. Although this can seem like an invasion on privacy (and justifiably so), It is technically what we signed up for. As for how concerned about this we should be about this- honestly, I’m not so sure myself- but I am looking forward to researching this topic more to find out!

 

 

 

References

  • Fuchs, C, Boersma, K, Albrechtslund, A, Sandoval, M, 2013,  “The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media”, in Trottier, D, Lyon, D, “Key Features of Social Media Surveillance”, Taylor and Francis, p. 91

Love & Other Technologies

I must admit, When we were told that we had to make a 7 minute video as part of our final assignment for my Digital Media course at Deakin, I did not think I would be able to pull it off. The only video making experience I had before starting this course was making my best friend’s hen’s night video- and lets face it, that is not sufficient enough experience. Now that I have completed the video, I can say without-a-doubt that I am immensely proud of what I have achieved, There is a sense of satisfaction that you get when you complete something that you never thought you were capable of, and that is exactly what the finished product of this video has given me.

I chose to  discuss Online Dating as I had already written a blog post about some of the points that had interested me on this topic and as a result it gave me pretty good idea of the direction that i wanted to take the video. Of course, the blog post alone wasn’t enough to form an informed argument, so I did add in other points and tried as much as possible to back my arguments up with scholarly resources that were provided both as recommended readings and in the Deakin Library database. The discussion revolves mainly around the normalisation of finding love online, along with some of the positive and negative aspects of it. I also used the dating site E-Harmony as an example for most of my arguments.

For me, the hard part was not finding information, online dating is becoming more and more popular in today’s society and as a result of this there is an abundance of research available to choose from. The difficulty for me came when i began thinking about how i was going to present my arguments. I am not saying that I am not a creative person (I actually think I am pretty creative), but for me, creativity takes time, ideas come to me in the most random situations and when I least expect it.

I wanted to come up with a way to demonstrate the points that I was making in a fun an engaging way. After spending weeks thinking of different scenarios to film, I finally decided that I was going to attempt to annotate my discussions and record a voice over while doing so. Although I am happy with the end result of this, It did take a lot of time and effort, even though the drawings themselves are not so complex, it still took  a lot of time to figure out how to angle my iPad so that it would film correctly while I was drawing and also doing my best to edit each and every single video afterwards because the lighting in my room was so bad! Thankfully, I loved every minute of it!

They say that time flies when your having fun- and this could not be more true, It was only when I was exporting the final video that I realised I had spent almost 4 whole days on these drawings! I also used PowerPoint to display some of the direct quotes that I used and added some animations to make them a little bit more engaging.

I used iMovie to edit and put my video together mainly because I did have some experience with it and it is generally easy to use and not confusing. I am not going to say that everything was smooth sailing- it most definitely wasn’t. But at the end of the day, I think I have done the best that I could and I am very happy with the end result.

All the filming was done using my iPad and the PhotoBooth app on my Mac.

(Word Count: 633)

 

 

References:

-DeMasi, S, 2011, Shopping for love: Online Dating and the Making of a Cyber Culture of Romance, in Seidman, S, Fischer, N and Meeks, C (eds.), Introducing the New Sexuality Studies, Routledge, Abingdon and New York, p. 207

-Tsatsou, P, 2011, ‘Gender and Sexuality in the Internet Era’, in Ross, K (ed.), The Handbook of Gender,Sex and Media, Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, p. 527

-Ramirez, A, Sumner, EM, Fleuriet, C, Cole, M, 2014, ‘When Online Dating Partner Meet Offline: The Effect of Modality Switching on Relational Communication Between Online Daters’, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (20), p. 101

-E-Harmony, 2016, ‘Who we are’ Available at: [www.eharmony.com.au/about/eharmony/]
Accessed on: 29th April 2016

-Music: ‘Happy’ by J-Coop CC BY. 2.0

 

My Broader Online Activity and Engagement 

I made a conscious effort to increase my level of activity since the first half of the unit and I think I succeeded in doing so. I was very active on Twitter and even managed to level up and earn myself the Golden Tiffit. I also made some Videos for the #studentonlychallenge, #MuseumMemories challenge and #IfIicouldcrowdfund Challenge. I have been blogging consistently on unit related topics and have really enjoyed doing this. I have also made comments on YouTube videos and continued to keep my about.me and Linkedin profiles up to date.

 

Crowdfunding in Times of Crisis

Crowdfunding has gained significant traction in the last couple of years. Websites such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indigogo (to name a few) have made great strides in enabling people to see their goals and dreams come to life. Although most of the time these campaigns that are funded include new and innovative products that will make our lives easier and more enjoyable, there is also a huge scope for more humanitarian efforts as people are able to go on these crowdfunding websites and ask for donations for things such as medical necessities and charitable efforts. 

In the last couple of days my home country Sri Lanka has been experiencing terrible rains which in turn has caused severe flooding leaving as many as 63 people dead and over thousands of both animals and humans displaced. My Facebook Newsfeed has been filled with horrifying images and videos about the devastation that has occurred and I have been getting constant notifications in the last few days of people marking themselves as ‘safe’ so that friends and family from all around the world know that they are out of harms way. 

What was interesting to me, is how crowdfunding and crowdsourcing has played a significant role in collecting donations for relied efforts in the Country. Many people and organisations have stepped up and urged citizens to donate things like clothes, rations and money. Social media has also helped greatly here in that it provides a much easier and effective method of communicating. 

Seeing all this really got me thinking about how crowdfunding has the potential to make a difference and bring people together. Before websites like these were set up, collecting donations, especially financial ones would have been difficult as it would have probably required people going door-to-door collecting funds (which would be difficult in this case- because you would need a boat!) and even then it is quite limited. These crowdfunding campaigns allow people from all around the world to donate money and aid victims, and as a result the sum of money that will be collected will be far greater. 

Crowdfunding websites obviously are also very effective when it comes to helping start up companies or individuals meet financial goals in order to bring a product out in to the market. At the same time, as you can see from the example that I provided above, it also has the potential to bring communities together in a crisis and aid people and countries in times of need- and I think that is pretty amazing. 

 

Museum Memories

Just last month I visited the Twelve Apostles with my family. On the way there, my 11 year old cousin turned and said to me; “I don’t know why we’re driving all the way there, when I can just look at a picture of it from my computer”. I know, the Twelve Apostles aren’t technically a Museum, but this example (I hope) still gives you an idea as to how peoples- especially the younger generations, mindsets are changing.

To me, Museums don’t necessarily have to be big, beautiful buildings that display different artefacts from the past. Architecture has been described as ‘frozen history’ and when you look at Sigiriya, a cultural heritage site in Sri Lanka, that is exactly what it is. The ancient rock fortress belonged to King Kashyapa who was believed to have ruled the country from 473-495 CE. It is 1800m high and is quite a challenging climb with 1200 steps to the top. Although they did recently build a Museum at the site that gives the visitors some insight as to how the fortress would have looked at the time, the architecture and nature that surrounds the fortress is honestly one that cannot be described. It is a definite must see if you ever visit Sri Lanka!

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SriLanka_Sigiriya_LionRock_Shuttershock_106127852 by Roderick Eime CC BY 2.0

Places like this I think still manage to attract visitors because of the simple fact that you are there in the moment and this helps you to connect on a much deeper level with a country’s history. It is important that historical structures like these be preserved so that we are reminded of the colourful history that a country possesses. I would love to see if in the future, a virtual reality tour of Sigiriya would actually have the same effect on me.

The rise of the digital age means that people’s attention spans are getting smaller and places like Museums are finding that they have to keep up with changing technologies in order to keep visitors interested in what they have to offer.

Looking back at my visit to the Natural History Museum in London two years ago, I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. The Museum successfully manages to engage it’s visitors with moving footage displayed on screens and touch screen images that you could click and play around with if you wanted more information on what you were seeing.

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Photograph inside the Natural History Museum in London. Taken by Anithra Ratnayake, September 2014.

There was even a Earthquake simulator that recreated the supermarket scene during Japan’s 1996 Kobe Earthquake. It isn’t as if the simulator tells you what its like to really witness an Earthquake of that magnitude, but it still succeeds in giving visitors at least a glimpse of what it would have been like for people at the time.

I think that is where Museums like the Natural History Museum have got it right, in order to truly engage visitors the usual pattern of just looking and reading aren’t really going to cut it anymore. With all the technology that is available in todays society people’s expectations are much higher, and in a way engaging visitors through simulators and virtual reality has an almost confronting nature to it, that actually gives you a glimpse in to what it must have been like to experience a particular event or period of our history.

I’ll leave you with the short video I made of my experience at the Natural History Museum; bear in mind its short because I didn’t actually have many pictures to put together. However, I think that this is a true testament to how effective the museum is in grabbing the attention of their visitors. Trust me, it takes a lot for me to put my phone down!

Should Young People be Restricted on Social Media?

Inspiration for this blog post came while I was at dinner at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. After dinner, as usual the adults, in an attempt to catch up with everything since they had last seen each other, began discussing the previous weeks events. It wasn’t until my aunt began to tell the story of how my teenage cousin managed to get her iPad confiscated, that I started paying attention.

The incident had occurred about a month ago and it was all over her use of the lip syncing app, Musical.ly. The app allows you to record yourself lip-syncing to your favourite songs or catchphrases and then you post it onto your account. My cousin and her friend had taken it upon themselves to star in their own lip-syncing show, recording themselves singing along to various songs and posting it on her account. I’m not sure (because i have never used the app myself) whether you have the option to make your account private or not, but either way whether she had chosen to or not, her public account had become very active and she had even gotten herself a significant amount of followers.

When my Aunt and Uncle found out they were livid. firstly because she had been warned not to use the app and secondly because they were concerned that lingering amongst her hundreds of followers could be ‘some kind of Paedophile’.

All this conversation was very interesting to me because I never really had to go through any of this as a child. By the time social media sites such as Facebook came out back home, I was already 16 and therefore didn’t really have much objection from my parents about my use of social media. They assumed I was old enough to negotiate between right and wrong when it came to what I was posting and who I was talking to. Also, back then, all these social media apps were pretty new and no one really considered the impact of things like digital footprints (which is probably why i’m still deleting old Facebook posts!)

For my little cousin however, things are very different. She was born into a world where use of technology and social media is the norm. The world in which she lives in is one where children would rather spend their time indoors online rather than go outside and play. The fact that her iPad was confiscated didn’t even really bother her that much since she was still able to use the one that was provided to her by her school.

Social media is used by young people as a platform for them to express themselves and share their lives with each other. This understandably creates concern because the fact that teenagers upload and share pictures and videos of themselves on social media “is considered unhealthy because children and teens are still developing cognitively, socially and emotionally and therefore lack sufficient maturity to fully understand and consent to the sexual material they are both producing via social media and exposed to through the wider media sphere” (Gabriel, 2014, pp. 105). The Facebook memories that appear on my timeline everyday are a painful reminder that I too was once sharing my social life online with absolutely no second thought towards how it would affect my future.

Teenagers share material that they believe will get them the most attention in their friends circle (like a video dancing around and lip-syncing to a popular song in my cousins case) but what they fail to understand is that once a picture or video is uploaded on to the internet, it becomes difficult to control (especially if your pages are public) who has access to it. The “immediate rewards- like receiving attention and admiration and achieving a sense of belonging- rate higher in teens minds than the risk of a future employer uncovering their unsavoury images during a routine background check.” (Gabriel, 2014, pp. 105). I see this a lot even on my own social media where a significant amount of my friends on Facebook have begun altering their names so that potential employers won’t be able to find them. The question comes to mind whether if they thought that their profiles represented themselves in a bad light, whether they should have uploaded these images or videos in the first place.

The reaction that my Aunt and Uncle had to confiscate and restrict my cousins use of technology is actually quite a common reaction, where adults attempt to control young people’s social media use by preventing them from accessing the sites in the first place. They do this because they believe that it will eliminate the risks all together. It can be said that “restriction is necessary because teens brains are not mature; they are still developing emotionally and should be protected from the dangers of the online world.” (Gabriel, 2014, pp. 107). But his didn’t necessarily limit her media use because her school had provided her with a iPad, which shows that technology is being used more and more by schools to enhance rather than stunt education of young people.

At the same time however, i cant help but wonder whether the younger generation today is much more internet savvy due to the simple fact that they are born into a society where people are already so aware of their online identities in the first place. As a result of this it seems that “young people are representing their own coming of age process, negotiating identities, sexualities and friendships, and making moral and ethical decisions regarding their online conduct” (Gabriel, 2014, pp. 108) all on their own. Even though it seems that teenagers are almost breaking the rules by engaging so fiercely in social media, in truth maybe the growth of technology and digital media has redefined what it means to be young in society today. Before the days that social media became increasingly popular, it was almost expected that young people would make mistakes and this was all summarised as a process of growing up. In this way, teenagers sharing their lives on social media are too in a sense, learning as they go and as a result “social media engagement in fact becomes a function of adulthood” (Gabriel, 2014, pp. 109).

The issue of teens and social media use, I feel, will always be a topic that will be aggressively debated. While there are many legitimate concerns with the increasing amounts of young people sharing their lives on social media, it is also important to see that in today’s society, where digital technology has become a significant part of our lives, it is only natural that young people too are embracing these technologies and integrating it into their everyday lives.

There are also a number of websites such as ‘ThinkUknow‘ and ‘Cyber Safety Solutions‘ that attempt to educate both young people and adults of the issues that can arise with social media, which as a result serves as a tool for a better way of dealing with the issues overall.

 

 

References

  • Gabriel, F 2014, ‘Sexting, selfies and self-harm: young people, social media and the performance of self-development’, Media International Australia, no. 151, pp. 104-12