The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Lucy Wickstrom, Second Place
Grade 8, Coastal Christian School
Teacher: Mrs. Sano
The 4-Way Test has been useful to people for generations. The questions “Is it the truth?,” “Is it fair to all concerned?,” “Will it build goodwill and better friendships?,” and “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” eliminate all injustice and wrongdoing. If more people in the modern age used the 4-Way Test, we would all get along much better. Recently, I used the 4-Way Test to make a decision in my life that might not be popular with people my age but has made me a happier person, and that is my decision to cancel my Facebook account.
One of the biggest things preventing people today — particularly young people — from using the 4-Way Test is Facebook. Though it is a billion dollar company that helps people reconnect with family and old friends, it keeps many people from remembering the importance of the questions in the 4-Way Test.
Users of Facebook should consider the 4-Way Test. First, “Is it the truth?” Facebook is extremely good at constructing a false picture of a person and their family. People make their families, their possessions, and their everyday lives look perfect by over-exaggerating through statuses and pictures. People compete for the best-looking life by trying to top what someone else has posted. Facebook does not show the truth, because of the false life a person can create for themself.
Secondly, “Is it fair to all concerned?” Facebook is not fair to most people involved. People can discover things that they are not meant to know. With anything and everything available for all to see, a person could uncover all sorts of information. A parent could read on Facebook that their son or daughter had been seriously hurt before being told about it. A student could find rude remarks made about him by his peers. The things a person can see on Facebook are not at all fair.
“Will it build good will and better friendships?” Facebook certainly does not pass this test. Many people are on Facebook to build better friendships, but outside of communicating with family, it rarely does this. Offensive pictures and hurtful comments are common on Facebook. Teenagers often use this site to gossip about classmates. A young person who finds unpleasant remarks made about him on Facebook will definitely not build better friendships with the people who made the remarks. Also, pictures of a life that appears better than one’s own could cause one to become fiercely jealous of others. Facebook also causes teenagers to develop an inaccurate understanding of how friendships work. They start to lose their ability to communicate correctly in person. Comedian Jay Leno said that Google is now developing a Facebook rival, a product similar to Facebook; they say their goal is that you never have to see your friends in real life ever again. Furthermore, teens forget that there is a difference between a Facebook friend and a true friend. Facebook does not usually build good will or better friendships.
Finally, “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” Facebook users do not usually benefit. For hours, they play games, update their statuses, and take pictures of themselves to post. They develop an addiction, and their attachment to Facebook prevents them from doing beneficial and productive things. Facebook makes many people feel jealous of the lives of others and develop a fantasy world for themselves. It also can affect their emotional well-being. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, there is a new condition known as “Facebook Depression,” in which kids can become depressed when they compare things like their number of friends, status updates, and tagged pictures to those of their peers. Therefore, in the long run, Facebook is not beneficial toward most of its users.
In conclusion, Facebook does not, in general, pass the 4-Way Test. It does not show the truth, it is not fair to all users, it does not usually build up better friendships, and it does not benefit all. These are the reasons I cancelled my Facebook account, and since then, I have had more time to develop real friendships and truly appreciate the things in my life. Facebook can be used for good, but its users need to remember to use the 4-Way Test.