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The Perils of Social Networking

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Social Networking SitesSocial networking sites are presently making news because of the profiles that young and ruthless terrorists had opened for themselves on forums like Orkut. While the media makes much of pages labeled Hizbul Mujahideen and tries to do an in depth analysis of the data entered by slain terrorist Atif Ameen on his Orkut page, it is worth checking out what a few youthful people feel about social networking sites as a whole.

“There’s just no substitute for SN sites,” says Manoj, a young marketing executive who has done everything from bartending to being a DJ for select parties. “In my free time, I have to hit my page and find out what my friends have said, whether anyone new has found me, and try some new game applications. I think SN sites are valuable because you can connect with friends and classmates from so long ago – people who have moved away and gone to another part of the world.” Manoj is so enamoured of social networking that he has a profile on no less than 3 well-known sites. 

Dealing with Disagreeable People

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Disagreeable PeopleThey lurk everywhere. In the crooks and corners of everyday life, the winding corridors of power and fame and even in the cocoon of your home and hearth. I’m talking about those disagreeable people who often surface in our lives to jolt us out of our silly illusions about the Buddha nature that is alive and kicking in every human being.

And the sad part is that they remain an integral part of our lives. Only those mortals who have an extraordinary dollop of luck on their side can ever hope to never experience the burden of their company.

How many of us have not encountered the meanness in someone who will have everything her own way and who cannot brook the slightest show of opposition? I know a few such people and I must confess I’m scared to death of being in their vicinity for any length of time. I vividly recall the scathing comments of one such miserable, so called friend of mine. (Experts believe it is their own unacknowledged misery and deep self-contempt that causes people to be cruel and disagreeable).

Those small objects

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Knick knacksHave you walked into a Lladro or Swarovski showroom and wondered at the people who have Rs. 40,000/- to spend on a little figurine to keep in their drawing room cabinet? Have you gone into a friend’s house and seen such a cute little terracotta Ganesh that you mentally vowed to get one just like that one for your own home? Have you been browsing idly and with no particular interest in an exhibition that your friend dragged you to, and then found exactly what you wanted – a napkin holder made of clear acrylic and dried rose petals?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, you will know the role that bric-a-brac or small knick knacks, or objects of limited utility but high sentimental value have within the house you set up with your partner. When people get married and settle down, they begin to accumulate what becomes a virtual museum in the years that follow. All their friends’ and well-wishers’ gifts, all their experiences together with their share of souvenirs, all the little symbols they acquire of their growing prosperity – everything is translated into little objects that inhabit their home.

Teen Anger ManagementI have often wondered why young people are so angry about everything. Young people especially teenagers seem to have no control over this emotion at all. I voiced this thought to my teenaged nephew Rahul. Prompt came his angry reply, “well why shouldn’t we be angry? We are made to suffer from identity crisis by you well meaning adults. When it comes to helping dad in the office we are grown up and should spend at least a couple of hours of our free time at the office. But when it comes to taking dad’s car out we not only have to beg but we also have to give a detailed agenda of where we are going that evening, who we are going with. And as if this is not enough we have to negotiate a deadline.”

Now before we get deeper into this it is good to understand that anger is not a negative emotion. It is normal and natural to get angry sometimes. It helps the system to release stress, anxiety and other harmful stuff. However, if anger is not kept under control and managed well it can have hazardous consequences.

Handling Peer Pressure

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TeensPeer pressure impacts everybody at some point in time irrespective of how popular or close knit your friend circle is. This is probably what prompted Dennis Wolfberg to say, “There’s one advantage of being 102. There’s no peer pressure.”

Peer pressure can manifest itself in many forms. And it can effect even very young children. Ms. Reza, mother of a three year old says, “I always thought that peer pressure is something that only teenagers had to cope with. But, I soon realized how wrong I was. My three year old daughter was crazy about Barbie shoes. But after a few days she refused to wear them. When asked why, the child said because her friends said that they didn’t like it. I was really baffled.” This is a very simplified example. Things can get very complex.

It is important for us as parents to be aware of the fact that children begin to explore the various relationships they have relationship with the primary caregivers (parents), the peer group, the teachers etc. It is during this time they also figure out their individuality and where they stand in relationship with others.