|Posted on 7 November, 2012 at 6:15|
I know this topic seems a little far-fetched, but I have spent a considerable amount of time analysing the social behaviours of teenage students, that I am now pondering the social behaviours of my own. I like many educators, parent or adult (who are at a Westfields anywhere) see how teenagers interact with each other in ‘person’. This is often different to how they interact ‘online’. There is much evidence that already supports this notion of teenagers acting differently online, however, research also states that teenagers are ‘awkward, friendless and have little social skills’ when out and about in the real world and therefore are forced to create a fake persona that they can live through online. Im not sure which teenager you are mentally picturing right now, but every single teenager at my school including all of my nieces and nephews do not fit this profile. In fact, they couldn’t be more ‘in’ as all they appear to do is constantly check that their hair is perfect and take photos of themselves with a mobile phone. For those who claim that they have no friends in real life, a fake persona online makes teenagers more accepted and ‘liked’ by hundreds, if not thousands of people that they generally don’t know. So, if making friends whilst being a teenager is so difficult, what do us 'over 30s' need to do to find a friend or is it all over for us?
I’m not sure how many people can relate to my story, but I feel that I have more sincere friends now than I have ever had. And many of those are people I am still meeting. Colleagues that I once said ‘hi’ to as I passed them in the corridor are now turning into great friends and our social media interaction simply supports our friendship, not dominating it (this means, that we still ‘talk’ in case you are one to ‘inbox’ a conversation). People I am meeting at conferences, networking meetings, professional learning sessions and more and now considered to be more than an ‘acquaintance’. This is certainly the proof that I need to confirm that friendships, valuable friendships, can be made at any age, phase or stage of our lives. So, thank you to all of my new friends and thank you to social media for helping us stay in touch whilst still giving us our voices.