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Last night, while doing my homework, I received a Twitter notification on my phone. Presuming someone had just favorited or retweeted a tweet of mine (because, you know, that is how popular I am) I quickly unlocked my phone to see what it was. I opened the notification…I just received a new follower! Happy news, right? No, wrong! My new follower was my 11-year-old sister who, up to this point, I had NO idea had a Twitter profile. Granted she had only created it roughly two weeks ago, the energetic 6th grader had already posted 90 tweets, had 35 followers, and was following almost 100 people. What the heck, Hannah??

Being eight years older than her, and in college, I had several reactions to this….

First: Why the heck did she wait two weeks to follow me, yet she followed 100 people before her big sister? Not going to lie, that kind of hurt. So that made me curious…who was she following then? Amongst the Pretty Little Liar and Vampire Diary celebs (who might I add tweet things that I do not think are suitable for 11-year-old girls), my sister had over 60 middle school friends that she followed. Need I remind you, most of these middle schoolers are only in the 6th grade! Admittedly, I quickly went and stalked some of her friends. I was in complete shock. Not only were most of their accounts public, but over half of them were posting from either a mobile device or iPod Touch. Pretty sure I didn’t even have an AIM account until 8th grade and did not own a phone until junior year in high school.

Second: How in the world did she manage to post over 100 tweets in 14 days? That is almost 6 tweets a day. Shoot, I consider a success to at least post 5 tweets a week. This concerns me…what time is she wasting to obsessively post on Twitter. I am worried that instead of spending time working on her homework or playing outside, she is cooped up in her room scrolling endlessly on her timeline. She doesn’t even follow any news worthy Twitter handles…just a bunch of pre-teens and their overly dramatic lives. I cannot help but wonder then is social media negatively influencing students to place less emphasis on their education and health? I know back in my middle school days, after school I would focus on getting my homework done so then I could go out to play. I was not distracted by social media entertainment.

Third: Her pictures! Oh do not get me started on her pictures! I believe my sister is a very beautiful girl (and I am not saying that just because I am a biased sister). She has gorgeous blonde locks, pretty brown eyes, and a skinny body which I am super jealous of. However, in every picture that she posed in, either by herself or with friends, I could tell was completely staged and taken at the best angles. In addition, my sister also had on makeup, which she hardly ever wears. And just if it could not get any worse, my sister filtered and edited her pictures…changing the background, whitening her teeth, editing her eye color, and tanning her skin. That is not true beauty! But then again, is social media influencing her idea of beauty?

So what I thought would be a simple notification, led me to waste over 45 minutes of my time stalking my baby sister and her friends on Twitter. I am terrified that Twitter has impacted her life and our youth. I am scared for my sister’s generation honestly. Will social media and such easy access to technological devices change how they communicate with others, manage their time, and view their bodies? Should we be concerned? Essentially, technology is influencing how children are being raised. As I mentioned, my sister and I are eight years apart and yet I was raised completely differently than she was. She was raised in the era of technology, I was not.

And we do not know how this will affect society in 30 years…what will the generation of our youth today act like 30 years down the road after being raised amongst technological advancement? For right now, however, I know that I do not feel comfortable with my baby sister being on a social media outlet like Twitter. She is just way too young. Hmm…I wonder if we can place a cap on the age for using media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.  Would this help younger students prioritize their education over their web entertainment? Or would such age restriction lead to a total web war? All I am saying is I think we really need to pay close attention to our youth…their presents on social media sites is clearly 100%. I feel protective of my sister and I think she is just way too young to be on Twitter…simple as that!

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