Following a recent survey in our school, 162 out of the 180 students in Year 11 use Facebook. “What is your point?” I hear you cry. Eighteen students don’t have Facebook? I was expecting far fewer than that.

At school, Facebook is your social passport. If you don’t have Facebook, you don’t have a life. Sure you may have Twitter, or you may have other social networking sites, but you don’t have Facebook, where the social calendar is regularly updated (and when I say regularly, I mean every few minutes), the latest gossip, and the general information required for school life. You miss out on parties, trips out, and opportunities which should really be addressed face to face. If you miss out, then it’s your fault, because guess what, you don’t have Facebook.

It’s not deliberate exclusion, or at least I certainly hope not, just a general assumption that you have Facebook, like a vital component to life, like air or water.

But the sad truth is it is really affecting young people without it. The accidental exclusion leads to questions as to why you. What have you done? And the truth is nothing. There is nothing that you can do. Unless you get Facebook.

And it’s your right not to have Facebook, for whatever reason. There are some advantages to not having it. Any future employers will not have the power to intrude upon your account, find comments you wish you hadn’t posted about someone or other potentially damaging material.

On the other hand, Facebook has its uses. Being able to talk with friends from across the country or world is a major benefit for many people, and encourages long distance relationships and friendships. It also provides a person with a sense of identity and belonging, which otherwise is absent. Facebook is also an opportunity for promoting businesses, entertainment, and general fun. So not all bad.

Facebook is a private company made for profit, not a legal requirement, and is not necessary for life, though sometimes it certainly feels like it.