Sophie Frey, junior

This past summer, junior, Emily Ham’s friends were invited to a summer
hangout at another friend’s house. The invitation was sent in a mass
message on Facebook to all of the host’s closest friends. Ham didn’t get
one. But it wasn’t because they didn’t like her or wanted her to be there,
it was because she didn’t have a Facebook to receive the message. The
night of the get together while her friends enjoyed a fun movie night on
an outdoor projecting screen, Ham sat at home disappointed that not having
a Facebook was affecting her social life.
Recent studies from July 2010 have shown that 60 percent of highschoolers
have created Facebook accounts. Other studies have shown that 500 million
people worldwide own a Facebook. This means that about every one out of 14
people in the world has a Facebook. Because Facebook is such a popular way
to easily connect and contact people, many students at Maria
Carrillo High School have one.
       Emily Ham is a typical Maria Carrillo High School junior.  She spends
her time playing on the MCHS tennis team, making movies with her
friends, and babysitting her younger sisters, while she
juggles her schoolwork, which includes two Advanced Placement classes.
One thing that differentiates Ham from most of the students at MCHS is
that she doesn’t have a Facebook. Facebook has become such a substantial
aspect of MCHS students’ lives that students find it rare for
teens not to have one.  Ham said, “I really don’t have time
for it, and I’m afraid I’ll get addicted.”
 Facebook has a power over many of the teens
that lures them onto the site where they can spend hours
finding distractions. A lot of the time it is used to take a break while
doing homework, or as entertainment while bored in class.
 However, Facebook does affect Ham’s life on a daily basis.

“50 percent of conversations between my friends revolve around Facebook,” said Ham.
She’s tired of hearing gossip about the new “Facebook official”
relationship status of a couple at school and their complaints about
pictures posted of them on their friends’ profiles.
Ham also believes that Facebook is not only a popular social network,
but it is also used improperly.

“I think a lot of what is done on Facebook is not mature by being addicted and hiding behind a screen to judge other peoples’ lives through the information on their profiles. I think it can be used maturely but most people don’t,” said Ham.
 She hears stories of people whom she always thought of as reserved and
friendly at school, cyber-bullying fellow classmates. The change in
character and personality astonishes her. Ham prefers to have
conversations face to face with people, so she can see them for who they
really are instead of talking to them through a computer where they have
a more confident cyber-persona.
Ham also feels that her friends should be focused on more important things
rather than going on to Facebook. She understands that people want to
keep in touch with distant friends or family, but “people feel like they
have to go on every day to talk to their friends that they see at school.”
Ham believes in the Facebook that was once solely created to find old
friends and family and catch up with them, which can be true from some
students. “My friend from when I was one-year-old found me [on Facebook]
last night,” exclaimed sophomore, Austin Bellach.
However, Bellach, who has a Facebook application on his iPhone, tends to
use Facebook constantly, which admittedly distracts him from work.
“Whenever I get a notification on my phone, even if it’s just a friend
request, I go on.” This Facebook habit is common among MCHS students,
which can affect their school-related studies.
By not owning a Facebook, Ham feels that she is a lot more focused on her
interests and school work than most of her friends who do have accounts.
But many students at MCHS use Facebook as a way to connect with other
classmates regarding school projects and important reminders. “Sometimes
[Facebook can be a waste of time] but I use it to organize things and get
together with friends, so it’s helpful most of the time, “ said senior
Hayle Lueth. Lueth occasionally keeps her Facebook page up while studying,
“so I don’t have to keep logging back on” when she is trying to talk with
her friends.
 Ham does realize that she misses out on a lot of messages from her
friends regarding parties and group hangouts they are planning, and
cannot usually relate to a lot of the Facebook-related conversations. But
she still plans on never getting a Facebook even during moments of
weakness. “During the summer especially [I want one] because I’m not
always around people like at school.” Then she thinks ahead of
maintaining her profile during the hectic school year, and stops.
Facebook can be a social site where students waste time away from
homework, talking with friends and changing features on their profiles.
But Facebook can also be a great communicating device to stay in touch
with family and plan school projects. “I go on Facebook once a day,” says
senior, Karissa Derousseau. “You can get caught up in it, but if you stay
focused then it’s enough.”