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Lets blame social networking on everything!
August 2, 2009 at 6:22 pm #77046
from the UK Telegraph
Websites such as Facebook and MySpace encourage teenagers to view friendship as a "commodity" and are leading them to suicide, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales has warned.
Archbishop Vincent Nichols said the sites are leading teenagers to build "transient relationships" which leave them unable to cope when their social networks collapse. He said the internet and mobile phones were "dehumanising" community life.
His comments follow the death of 15-year-old schoolgirl who took a fatal overdose of painkillers last week after being bullied on Bebo, another networking site.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, the Archbishop of Westminster also voiced his concerns about the loss of loyalty and the rise of individualism in British society which he said threatened to undermine communities. He picked out footballers for acting like "mercenaries" and expressed his fears over moves to relax laws on assisted suicide.
He said that relationships are already being weakened by the decline in face-to-face meetings and conversations over the phone.
"I think there's a worry that an excessive use or an almost exclusive use of text and emails means that as a society we're losing some of the ability to build interpersonal communication that's necessary for living together and building a community.
"We're losing social skills, the human interaction skills, how to read a person's mood, to read their body language, how to be patient until the moment is right to make or press a point.
"Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanises what is a very, very important part of community life and living together."
The archbishop blamed social network sites for leaving children with impoverished friendships.
"Facebook and MySpace might contribute towards communities, but I'm wary about it. It's not rounded communication so it won't build a rounded community," he said.
"If we mean by community a genuine growing together and a mutual sharing in an interest that is of some significance then it needs more than Facebook."
He warned that the sites are contributing to a trend for teenagers to put too much importance on the number of friends they have and that this can ultimately lead to suicide.
"Among young people often a key factor in them committing suicide is the trauma of transient relationships.
"They throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they're desolate."
He continued: "It's an all or nothing syndrome that you have to have in an attempt to shore up an identity; a collection of friends about whom you can talk and even boast.
"But friendship is not a commodity, friendship is something that is hard work and enduring when it's right."
His warning about the impact of the internet was highlighted last week by the death of Megan Gillan, a student at Macclesfield High School in Cheshire, who swallowed several tablets after fellow pupils posted spiteful messages online about her appearance and clothing.
Archbishop Nichols also raised concerns about developments in British society including the rise of individualism, which he said was typified by the attitude of footballers in breaking their contracts to move to other clubs for a bigger salary.
"What football spectators appreciate is a bit of loyalty and we're seeing that less and less," said the Liverpool-supporting archbishop.
"There are echelons of football, as in society, where some players are clearly mercenaries."
He said that he is uncomfortable about the way that football teams are running up high levels of debt to pay "astronomical" salaries, citing Emmanuel Adebayor who will earn £170,000 a week after his move from Arsenal to Manchester City.
"I regret in a way that somehow the local identification, the local bonding between the community and its football team has been commercialised to such an extent."
Archbishop Nichols said that individualism could have a damaging effect on society and pointed to moves to legalise assisted suicide as particularly worrying.
"Assisted suicide seriously weakens the fabric of mutual responsibility within society," he said.
"It leads to the idea that people who require a lot of care ought to be moved even further off of the scene.
"Once the principle that a human life is disposable by age or illness, then it won't be the sick person who is making the decision it will be somebody else who makes it for them."
He called on the Government to do more to support the traditional family by offering tax breaks to married couples and echoed proposals made by the Conservative Party demanding that couples enter a 'cooling-off'period before being allowed to divorce.
August 2, 2009 at 6:40 pm #77052
Too much of anything is a bad thing. Parents need to emphasize other parts of life to their kids so that their whole life does not revolve around social networking. Having real friends and unplugging and going outdoors is important. But social networking in a responsible way can expose youth to a broader horizon of people. I had an international pen pal when I was a kid. Took forever to correspond back and forth - today it can be instant and kids can have friends all over the world. This is an aspect of social networking that is mind expanding and positive. But, if you let your young ones surf, enjoy social networking and text continually without any supervision or guidance, horror stories will be reality.
August 3, 2009 at 12:29 am #77050
The Archbishop has no idea of what he is talking about. Does he cite studies, a professional organization, or even an organization? Nope! Like the majority of todays' pundits, the Archbishop claims his opinion as fact to influence public opinion. It's sad that children commit suicide. If the Archbishop wants to make a change he should raise funding for a suicide prevention program that has positive track record, and can make an impact. Not to create social bogeymen and create fear where it doesn't exist.
August 19, 2009 at 2:56 pm #77048
It takes a village to raise a child. One of the advantages of a small community is that you know the neighbor and can wave at them on the street. My experience as a city dweller has not been so happy. We as the adults need to help the next generation build their village. Social networking can be a big part of it - there friends are out there. My adults taught me - if you can't say it to their face then don't say it. Bullying can happen anywhere WE need to have the social skills and backup in place to counteract the negative. Anyway, this rambling has a motive - not one thing or person is ever totally to blame when something bad happens.
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