December 7, 2010

How does fb affect your life?

Part 1: Who’s using Facebook, and how often?

Facebook has more than 500 million members who communicate in 70 languages. If the social network was a country, it would be the third largest behind China and India.

But Facebook usage among members varies widely. Some people sign up and then rarely use it. Others, including a senior citizen interviewed by WTOP, check it every single day — multiple times a day.

Part 2: How do you use Facebook?

Statistics show one out of every two Americans uses Facebook, but different people use it for different things. For some young people, it’s become the main way they communicate with friends. Others use it to talk to far away family members, stay in touch with the news and play games like Farmville.

Part 3: Teens and 20-somethings

You have to be at least 13 to use Facebook, but quite a few kids are lying about their age to become members. A recent study found 37 percent of 10-to-12-year-olds are on Facebook. One teenager we talked to admits using Facebook has affected his grades. A college student who uses it says she gets frustrated trying to explain to her Mom what the social network is.

Part 4: Senior citizens

If you look at the ages of people joining Facebook today, CBS News Technology Analyst Larry Magid says the fastest growing demographic is people age 50 and older. A 69-year-old woman WTOP talked to uses Facebook daily, and more than one teen we interviewed says they’ve either taught a grandparent how to use Facebook, or they’ve been friended by Grandma or Grandpa.

Part 5: Misunderstandings and marriage

Facebook says it helps you connect and share with the people in your life, but it can also lead to misunderstanding and busted marriages. Several users we talked to complained it was hard to express humor or sarcasm on Facebook. Facebook also makes it easier than ever to find and reconnect with old flames.

Part 6: How rude!

Are you the one checking Facebook on your smartphone during a family dinner or a business meeting? Quite a few people will tell you it’s rude. One teen we talked to who’s been lectured about this by his parents once caught his mother checking her phone at a restaurant.

Part 7: Facebook at work

It’s not a good idea to become Facebook friends with your boss or coworkers, says Bethesda-based etiquette expert Cynthia Lett. She suggests you defriend them and reconnect with them elsewhere – perhaps on a site like LinkedIn. Also not recommended: writing negative things on Facebook about your company or someone at the office.

Part 8: Kids, parents and Facebook

Many parents don’t know Facebook has some good privacy protections for teens between the ages of 13 and 17. CBS News Technology Analyst Larry Magid says for kids that age, even if their privacy settings are set for maximum exposure, that means their profile is only viewable by friends, friends of friends and networks – not the entire Internet.

Part 9: Privacy

Lots of people are concerned about privacy on Facebook, but many people on the social network aren’t using its privacy features. If you need help managing your privacy, Facebook has a Safety Center. You can reach it from your page by clicking “Account” in the top right corner, choosing “Help Center” from the drop-down menu, then choosing “Safety” from the menu on the left.

Part 10: Safety tips

Even if you max out Facebook’s privacy settings, you can still get into trouble on the site by posting the wrong things and friending people you don’t really know. One teen we talked to got a friend request from a stranger who claimed to be a new student at her school. Another person has friends who were robbed after they revealed on Facebook that they were away from home.

Part 11: Bullying

Physical fights can often begin on Facebook. Students tell us they’ve seen lots of nasty comments posted on walls, and sometimes students get suspended for things written on Facebook. Dr. Patricia Dalton, a clinical psychologist in D.C., talks about another form of cyberbullying: posting photos of groups to show who’s part of the group and who’s not.

Part 12: Protecting your reputation

Incriminating photos are all over Facebook, and they could hurt you if you’re trying to get into a college or land a job in the future. Photos of young people holding plastic party cups, which could very well contain alcohol, are especially problematic. One teen tells us he’s heard of people having acceptance letters from colleges revoked because of what the school found out about the applicant on Facebook.

Part 13: Facebook addiction

Several people we interviewed told us they think they’re addicted to Facebook. Is that even possible? A clinical psychologist says it is. But how do you know if you have a problem? You might if your Facebook use is affecting your other obligations in life, like keeping up with homework and family. A new piece of software called “Anti-Social” will block your computer’s access to social networking sites.

Part 14: More tips for parents

CBS News Technology Analyst Larry Magid says it’s a good idea to be your child’s friend on Facebook, and there are subscription services that will monitor your child for you if you choose not to join Facebook. But Magid thinks it’s important you tell your child if you are monitoring him or her on Facebook, so there is no breach of trust. Another tip for parents: Don’t post on your kid’s Facebook wall.

Part 15: Facebook vacations and quitters

Some people have no interest in ever joining Facebook. Others have joined and quit. A 25-year-old man we talked to who dropped Facebook says he found out who his real friends are, and he feels more relaxed since he gave it up. Some people also take vacations from Facebook. They stop using it for a while, and then return.

Part 16: Is Facebook making us antisocial?

Many young people we interviewed say they prefer Facebook and texting to phone calls and even face-to-face contact. A 19-year-old says social media is making people socially awkward. Experts say some young people today lack basic social skills like the ability to make small talk or read a person’s body language.

Part 17: Facebook no-nos

Do you have a lot of Facebook friends? You might want to look through them and make sure you know exactly who they are. We’re hearing from people who were burned because they forgot whom they friended, or in some cases, their so-called friends took advantage of them. One example: Someone who talked about their vacation on Facebook, and returned to find their home robbed.

Part 18: Facebook can be good

Most people know using Facebook is a great way to meet people. But did you also know it can save lives? Because of the nature of Facebook, it’s often the way friends find out that another friend is hurting, and suicides can be prevented. A local teacher we talked to was approached on Facebook by a student who was concerned about the well-being of another. Because of this, the teacher was able to intervene and get the young person needed help.

Part 19: Defriending

One college student we interviewed has 1,500 friends, but doesn’t know most of them. Because of that, she’s now defriending, and she’s not the only one. TV’s Jimmy Kimmel recently declared “National UnFriend Day.”

Part 20: The future of Facebook

Facebook is always changing and adding new features. It recently added a location-based feature called “Places,” and it’s in the process of rolling out a new messaging service. And while many people hope Facebook continues to be popular, one teenager tells us she hopes it’s just a passing trend.

-taken from wtop


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