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The Teen Scene: Facebook — Friend or Foe?

Homework is the ultimate teen enemy.
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    Ding! Your computer buzzes and as if you have finally found a long lost friend, you shove your homework aside and sprint to the inviting screen. After replying to your friend’s chat message, you discover that you have four notifications to attend to. Four! You check each one and then proceed to the grand finale, the news feed. Here, you forget all of your troubles as you sort through the troubles of others. As you scroll down, you see a post about the homework assignment you were supposed to be working on. A guilty glance at the clock reveals that you’ve been on Facebook for a good two hours. This wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t already midnight. Oops.

    Facebook has gone from being the ultimate social networking site to becoming the ultimate distraction. Teens find themselves checking for notifications every twenty minutes, especially on days when homework is abundant and time is limited. There are many theories explaining why we always give in to the familiar blue logo, but one thing is for sure — once you’re hooked, it’s difficult to logout. So how do we prevent Facebook from spamming our lives without having to part with it? There may not be a perfect solution, but the following tips might help do your homework some justice. 

    1.If you’re on a smart phone, turn off push notifications. Having your phone buzz every two minutes is a huge and almost irresistible invitation to log in and join in on the fun. If push notifications are off, you’ll only see what you need to see when you log onto the website or open up the app, both of which are easier to refrain from. 

    2.The news feed is evil. Yes, it’s the perfect way to connect with your friends, but it’s also the place where users spend the most time. If you really must go on Facebook, check your messages, notifications, events and leave. Yes, the news feed will longingly look up at you, but it is also something that can always be sifted through later.

    3.Facebook can be the perfect study break, but only when used for a short period of time. If you know that you’re short on time but would really like to spend some time on Facebook, go to an online stopwatch website and time yourself using a countdown. It sounds ridiculous, but if it’ll get the job done, there’s no harm in having a stopwatch open in a separate window while you browse the site. 

    4.Turn off email notifications. This one is self-explanatory.

    5.Create limits. Tell yourself how often and for how long you can check Facebook. You could also ask your parents to check up on you every once in a while so that those limits are enforced. 

    6.Use Facebook as a reward. Divide your homework into three or four parts and for each part you complete, reward yourself with a five minute Facebook check. (Be careful to make sure that those five minutes don’t turn into fifteen by using a timer or online stopwatch.)

    7.Study far away from the computer and get cozy. All of us get lazy, and if being lazy will prevent us from walking over to the computer to check Facebook then the ends justify the means.

    8.If you don’t have work to do, go outside. This is where being lazy will not work to your advantage. Take a walk, hang out with friends, or even kick a ball around. Do something that will keep you active and prevent you from becoming a couch potato. Who knows, you may even meet someone that you can actually talk to in person.

    Homework is the ultimate teen enemy, and it’s difficult to complete when you know that all of your friends may be “having fun without you” on Facebook. Once the habit is broken, however, Facebook won’t seem as enticing as it does now. Hopefully, these tips will help you triumph and begin to realize how much of your time is being consumed by this killer website. In the meantime, I’ve got some email notifications to turn off. 

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