Suzy Freeman-Greene writes in The Age: "Facebook is a brilliant time-waster and a nifty way of sharing stuff with relatives or like-minded people. But how is it shaping our idea of friendship?" This article appeared on 5 Feb 2011, URL: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/the-folly-of-unquestioning-belief-in-facebook-friends-20110204-1agzo.html .
The internet allows people to selectively present only the best parts of themselves online. Because of that we tend to people through rose-tinted glasses. If we are not careful, we will end up thinking that everyone is better than ourselves, as Freeman-Greene says. That is not good for our self esteem. As for online social networking, it may actually create a relationship that is based on perception, rather than on actual interaction and knowledge of the person's true character and behaviour.
Take photography, for example. When I first looked at the online albums of other photographers I see a lot of good quality work. I used to feel that I have got a long way to go before I can call myself a photographer. Fortunately for me, I joined a camera club and I have been able to realistically assess myself offline with respect to other club members.
Therefore it is important to realize that in this internet age, we have to educate ourselves, as well as our children, that the internet can be a rose-tinted screen.