Internet social networks sabotage students’ face-to-face interaction

Megan Crothers

It’s a chilly Friday night, and herds of teens and young adults are crammed together in the backyard of an empty and parent-less house.

Most of them are holding red plastic cups, filled to the brim with the chosen poison of the night. Others sulk in the corners, clutching their car keys and shivering as they watch their friends drink away their inhibitions.

From this common scenario stems a full weeks worth of MySpace gossip, ranging from the night’s hot couple, to who passed out with their shoes on, to the sorry kid vomiting in the bushes.

Then there are always the hoards of pictures to prove it, with clever captions that deceptively claim coherent sobriety, despite glazed eyes and goofy grins.

After the juicy stories fade away and the photographs begin to lose their charm, the search for next weekend’s priceless experience is initiated. So why do we devote so much energy to the commonly fruitless pursuit of the perfect party?

For those of us who have sold our souls to MySpace and Facebook, the idea is to take as many obscene and possibly offensive pictures as possible and post them on our web pages in order to gain comments, wall posts, and Internet-peer admiration.

It’s a sad truth: millions of bright, gifted individuals have been lured into internet life, shying away from tangible friendships in favor of seeking virtual companionship.

This may leave many socially crippled, unable to carry out worthwhile conversations or keep promising eye contact.

It is difficult not to fall victim to the glitter and ease of online life, which is intensely easier to manage than reality, but there is hope.

Instead of leaving a silly message that reads along the lines of “OMG, I like TOTALLY miss you, lets get Starbucks asap!!! XOXO <3", use the ancient device commonly referred to as a telephone to verbally contact your friends.

This will greatly increase the chances of actually meeting for coffee, and strengthen your overall relationship.

Nothing is more fulfilling and more rewarding than quality time with the people you care about, and having an in-depth E-mail conversation about the importance of domestic beer does not qualify as “quality time”.

Seeing a person face-to-face rather than via Internet picture (which they probably took of themselves on their camera phone) leaves you feeling more connected with the human race and, most importantly, yourself.

So the next time you spend your party time with the sole purpose of blacking out and snapping pictures rather than enjoying your time with friends, unearth from your memory the importance of physical human interaction.

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