Sometimes it seems like all we hear about Facebook are the negative things: how it sucks up people’s time, how it allows your moments of bad judgment to follow you for years, how it’s just a poor imitation of real life. So it’s refreshing to hear that Facebook may actually be doing some good for teenage girls.
In a recent study issued by the Girl Scouts, more than half of the girls responding to a survey reported that social networks enhanced their friendships. The researchers also speculated that Facebook may help girls who feel isolated to connect with others who share their interests.
Of course, there are some qualifications to the study’s positive findings. 68% of girls reported being bullied or gossiped about on social networks, and 40% said they thought badly of someone after seeing some of their online content. In addition, 41% of girls admitted that they try to make themselves seem cooler online.
As for me, I’m quite relieved that Facebook didn't become popular until the summer before I went off to college. I was a pretty lonely teenager, and I can only imagine that my lack of friends would have been all too clearly spelled out on an empty social network page. It was only as I started college that I began to truly feel comfortable with myself, and comfortable in sharing myself and my thoughts.
But I admire today’s girls, who are forging ahead online without any guidance from the past. If social networks are going to give girls confidence, and let them feel that they have something to contribute to the world, the let the Facebook away.
- Miriam Musco
Girl Museum, Inc.