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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Two worlds collide, communication at risk

The hum of the computer fills the room as the monitor becomes filled with pictures and words. Frantic hands move across they keyboard in order to respond to the onslaught of messages. Even though the person may be alone in his room, he is connected with the rest of the world.

Over 1.08 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats. Out of this pool of people, MySpace, a social network service where people set up their own profiles and chat with people across the world, claims to have over 100 million registered users.

AOL Instant Messenger, an instant messaging service, has 53 million active users. These two, along with numerous other web services, are part of a much bigger family of global communication.

In the midst of this communication revolution, two different worlds collide, face-to-face communication and online communication. No longer are people required to talk face-to-face or write letters to each other. People can now communicate over the Internet through social service networks like MySpace and AOL Instant Messenger to anyone in the world.

?A lot of people have a MySpace now, and I like the flexibility I have to express myself,? Nichole Boothroyd, ?07, said. ?It helps me connect to people from this school, and I get to know the side of people that I wouldn?t normally see because they are insecure about showing that side at school.?

Communication Ability Eroding

Some believe that this type of communication exists only on a superficial level and that it only brings acquaintances and not true friendship.

?I believe that human communication has been watered down to the point where no one really knows anyone personally,? Sean O?Neal, ?08, said. ?It is better to talk to someone face to face and get to know someone on a deeper level.?

Appealing factors for these social network services is the ability to create who you want to be and the ability to communicate under the safety of a screen name.

?I?m not quick to say they [social network services] are eroding society because young people, who are using alternate means of communicating, are simply finding others ways to communicate even though it is not face-to-face,? Larry Dunn, member of the Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies at Fresno Pacific University, said.

?We depend so much on the tone of voice and non verbal signals, and so indirect communication is problematic in that way, but on the other hand online communication is helping to facilitate communication between friends and parents.?

Privacy Issues Exposed

Privacy issues within these social network services can hinder students because personal information may leak out into the Internet.

?Last year, our volleyball team was playing at the national tournament when people on the stands started to yell things very personal in nature to our girls in order to distract them,? Dunn said. ?At first we didn?t know how they found out about this information, but it turned out that our girls had MySpace pages that included very personal information.?

These social network offer other potential dangers with online predators taking advantage of unsuspecting students. Congress has already taken action with federal bill HR 5319, an amendment to the 1934 Communications Act, submitted by U.S. Representative Michael Fitzpatrick in May 2006.

Otherwise know as the ?Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006?, passed by the House and is now being voted by the Senate. The bill would require all schools and libraries that receive federal funds to restrict access to digital tools and online communities.

?Parents should still keep tabs on their children about what they do on the Internet,? Molly Sargent, English teacher said. ?However, parents should still allow their children to have that creative outlet to express themselves.?

Internet Language Sidesteps Skills

Since the advent of the Internet and social network services, new words have been created to streamline the process of typing online. Words like lol (laugh out loud), jk (just kidding), rofl (rolling on the floor laughing) and brb (be right back) expedite the process of communicating with others.

?The use of short hand makes communications more effective because you can fit more in a smaller space,? Sargent said. ?I don?t think students? writing skills have diminish over the last ten years because writing is always a difficult activity for most people. In fact, they have gotten better because there are more avenues for students to communicate and write.?

However, Dunn states that students who use short hand communication for formal essays and job applications will soon find themselves being rejected.

?Shorthand communication in formal papers should not be used,? Dunn said. ?It?s a bleeding over of our use of grammar into the use of the format.?

However, even with these rapid changes in the way people communicate with each other, technologies like web cams and iChat may make it possible to speak face to face with anyone in the world.

?I remember when I was in junior high that I would watch the Jetsons,? Sargent said. ?I thought the coolest thing was that people could talk and see each other by using the phones with monitors, and with today?s technologies that is possible.?

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    Aaron BryanAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    I am so excited that Tyler and Andrew, and many other students, have taken seriously the call to serve. I am so proud of our students and honored to take part in their lives. You are all a blessing to me in more ways than you’ll ever know!

    And to the parents of those students; you deserve credit for the excellent job you are doing in raising children who seek to worship God, not only through music or with their words, but in their actions through service as well.

    Congratulations on continually fulfilling the call on your life that was given to you when you were entrusted with your children. As my wife and I are expecting our first son in April, I pray that God will empower me to raise him to be a servant-worshiper as well.

    Thank you for the positive example you set for your children and for future parents!