BEIRUT: When they don’t insist on them to socialize, parents urge their teens to pick up a book or any type of traditional media to read, because these activities allow people to make meaning together. To them, reading a newspaper, a print periodical, a book or even a postcard is counted as a social activity.
If reading is considered as social then nothing is more social than social media, because not only do users take in information but also generate content and share them to a largescale audience.
Besides the circulation of information, social media is a two-way conversation; people can communicate with each other, maintain or even form relationships. That is evident through the number of cases of couples who met on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and eventually got married and having children.
Thus, social media has a role in increasing the population.
Social media also enables human co-operation, which is obvious through the editing of articles on Wikipedia or the joint writing of a document on Google docs, and the item or house exchange initiatives found online.
Look no further than Second Hand Beirut on Facebook or Airbnb
For that, parents who tell their children to quit using social media and go “socialize” with others are not giving their children logical or valid reasons to stop what they are doing.
Even gaming has become more social than “playing outside.”
Older generations still think that gaming is a form of escapism, however, they miss the bigger picture. Gaming has become a social activity, where boys and girls invite their friends over to play.
According to 15-year-old Jad Abdullah, one can make new friends online every time he or she raises their console and turns on the online video game.
“Let’s be real, if I go outside to play chances are I find no kids on the street or I find a couple playing football in the 10-meter parking spot,” said Abdullah. “Turning on PubG however, I play and meet plenty of people from diverse cultures.”
Spending time online is a trend in Lebanon because it caters to a generation that doesn’t have the luxury to play outside.
“Outside means the parking area to city kids,” said Aya Younes an Urban Planning graduate. “That is if they were lucky enough to live in a building with a parking space.”
Spending time online is not the new black, it’s the most reasonable thing to do nowadays.
“Teens don’t need their parents to tell them the risks and harms of spending too much time online, they already know that social media and online gaming if not used critically can make them less and less committed to their roles in the traditional community,” said Dana Itani, a high school student.
Spending too much time online makes everyone outside the screen become unfamiliar, agreed the interviewed teens.
“But what are the alternatives?” asked 17-year-old Rewa Barakat.
Mohammad Tabara is a 16-year-old high school student living in Beirut, this is his first contribution.
Annahar English is officially launching a teen-writing section entitled Gen. Z Voices and invites all students, ages 14 to 18, to submit essays, school-oriented news articles, life commentaries and more. Tell the readers about what is on the minds of the youth of Lebanon. Send manuscripts for consideration to Gen Z editor Chiri Choukeir, firstname.lastname@example.org
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.