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Communication technologies have often sought relevance in an increasingly noisy and crowded communications universe. The recent upsurge in social media has completely changed the way people communicate. Some of the most notable social sites that have grown exponentially include MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Google Hangout. There is a fear amongst many persons that these continuous interactions that occur through technology might replace the old fashion face to face interaction (Blumsack 18). Their worries are justified given the fact that a lot of conversations in the 21st century are taking place using social media.
Awash in technology, the person can often hide behind a Facebook post, text, or even a tweet. The person through social media can be able to project any image that he or she desires and go ahead and create the illusion of their choosing. In the social media, communication is blurred as one can be whoever they want to be and with the lack of the ability to obtain nonverbal cues, their following are none the wiser.
Social media therefore hinders face to face communication (Blumsack 34). People might think that they understand a person because of the Facebook post they have posted, however, this actually incorrect. It is of the essence to note that as human beings, the only real method in which people can connect is through true and authentic communication. Studies have shown that indeed around 7% of the communication is often based on the verbal word and written text. However, 93% of communication is often based on nonverbal body language (Bedijs 43). It is important to therefore, note that it is only when a person hears the tone of the voice or look into someone eyes that they are able to know that when they say they are fine that means that they are not in any sense of the word fine.
Social media are slowly killing face to face communication. This is despite every metric showing that the world is interacting at breakneck speed through increased frequency through social media. However, with almost 93% of communication stripped away, persons are trying to forge relationships as well as make decisions based on several words, Emoticons, Snippets and abbreviations (Blumsack 83). However, they might not be accurate representations of the situation and the truth. Research has shown that the Generation Y and the Millennial who will comprise more than 50% of the workforce by the year 2020 would prefer the use of instant messaging and also the use of social media as contrasted to stopping by and talking to someone at the office (Bedijs 35).
Therefore, social media are slowly hindering face to face communication, and it is increasing the communication quantity rather than quality. Therefore, in what can be described as an ironic twist, the social media that was to make people more social is making people less social. It is of the essence to understand for that effective communication to occur, each and every party should be genuine and accurate. However, this is not happening with social media as it is replacing human contact altogether and eroding a whopping 93% of communication that could have otherwise been very important to the deciphering of the information sent. It is not a surprise that this change has already started to take shape given that a person go an entire day without having any face to face interaction meeting with people. This statement can often resonate both in the individual as well as the professional life of a person.
From any angle that one looks from, social media can be described as anathema to privacy. Through social media, persons learn things about people and they about us. In fact, thanks to social media, persons often know that if the nearest co-workers was to be a tree she would have been a willow, that Jeffrey lives and dies with his eagles, Peters brother was killed in a road accident and so on and so forth. It is critical to understand that although all this might be seen as shaping a community, it completely destroys privacy. For example, the bikini-clad body in the beach at Captiva might undermine the respect an employee has worked hard to earn from the superiors, peers and subordinated in the workplace (Altshuler 12).
The same might be said of a drinking party that went down amongst friends. Social media makes people detail their private thoughts and expose the information to the world, for example, who are you in a relationship with? Who do you poke? Who are your friends? These are some of the revealing questions that social media needs answers that are entirely private (Altshuler 19). The information is then put out there in the public. Social media are a haven for personal information and unfortunately most of the time this personal information gets out into the public
In conclusion, Social media are hindering face to face communication as majority of communications in the 21st century often occur through texting, emailing or social media. There is a need for face to face communication as it contains almost 100% of the communication as compared to social media that does not have the body language communication which accounts for around 93% of communication. Further, social media are a big impediment to privacy as one shares his or her personal information in this media.
Altshuler, Yaniv. Security and Privacy in Social Networks. New York, NY: Springer, 2013. Internet resource.
Blumsack, Larry. Face-to-face Is the Ultimate Social Media. Belmont, Massachusetts: Zoka Institute, 2010. Print.
Bedijs, Kristina, Gudrun Held, and Christiane Maass. Face Work and Social Media. , 2014. Print.
Online social networks are a major way through which individuals can interact on the World Wide Web. Facebook has over 500 million members, and many web services have been able to incorporate social network features in order to promote user interaction, as well as participation (Boyd, 2014). The use of (SNSs) social network sites has been able to grow dramatically across the United States, as well as the world. A research done showed that 46% of the U.S population uses social network sites. In fact, a recent poll showed that 22% of teenagers logged into their individual social media sites more than 13 times a day. Further research showed lucildy that more than half of adolescents in the United States log into their individual social media site more than twice a day. These figures are bound to increase with an increase in internet penetration across the world. More teenagers are being exposed to social media sites and, therefore, this is a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored in the society.
The different sub-groups that do exist in the social media industry either subscribe to either of the two hypothesis, the first being the rich get richer hypothesis or the social compensation hypothesis. The rich get richer hypothesis argues that adolescents that are already social adept in order often maintain relationships and they continue to connect to new groups. The compensation theory on the other hand argues that youth that are less adept socially often try to use social networking sites in a bid to self-disclose and they to make new friends. The research done provided evidence that showed that young people often try to find a new outlet for their opinions. However, there is information which shows that the internet sometimes can be detrimental to the development of young people's face to face social skills.
A large part of the 21st generation have a big part of their emotional and social development pegged on the internet and cell phones. However, because of limited capacity for self-regulation as well as susceptibility to peer pressure, adolescents and children are at a certain level of risk when they navigate and as they experiment with social media (Stenzel & Nesdahl, 2011). Research shows that there are often frequent online expressions of offline behaviors, clique-forming, bullying and sexual experimentation which have consequently introduced several problems such as privacy issues, cyber bullying and 'sexting' (Stenzel & Nesdahl, 2011). There are, however, other new problems which merit awareness that include sleep deprivation and internet addiction.
Most teens often use online network in order to extend their friendships and relationships. They extend relationships from areas such as school, religious organizations, local activities and sports. The social networking sites often provide a way for different teens to experience opportunities and connectedness in order to learn from each other (Agosto, 2011). Social media provides a platform to create a supportive environment in order to explore romance, social status and friendship while also providing the teenagers an opportunity to share as well as discuss their taste in knowledge of television, music and other different aspects of teen culture. The social networking sites are also important as they allow teenagers to find the support that they need online that they might lack in traditional relationships (Inagaki, 2007). This often holds true for teenagers that are marginalized, such as gay, bit and transgendered teens. Teenagers have been shown to use online searches in social networking sites to gain answers to many of their health concerns with about 31% of teenagers getting tips on dieting, physical fitness and health from the internet (Kirsh, 2010).
While Media use can be described as an integral and important part of the daily life of different adolescents, there are often a number of risks that are associated with social media use. Some of these include negative effects on cyber bullying, dangers of sexual solicitation and exposure to problematic information and violations of different privacies (Agosto, 2011). The risks that the teen face online have been described by several psychologists as being similar to those that are faced offline. However, it is of the essence to understand that the risk profile for the use of different types of social media is dependent on the type of risk, the use of the media (social) and the diverse psychological makeup of the teen that is using them. It is of importance to note that teenagers are most at risk often when they engage in behaviors that are risky and also have difficulties in other parts of their lives.
In conclusion, social media sites can be said to be a two-edged sword. It has benefits such as increasing the development of teenagers when it comes to expressing themselves, allowing teenagers to meet more people and increasing intelligence of teenagers by exposing them to different persons in the world (Agosto, 2011). However, social media sites also come with several negative attributes such as privacy violations, increase in immoral behavior, cyber-bullying and increase in solicitation and fraud cases. Teenagers should understand these risks that exists in social media sites in order to avoid them. Therefore, education should be dispatched to teenagers regarding their susceptibility when it comes to the use of social media sites.
Agosto, D. E., & Abbas, J. (2011). Teens, libraries, and social networking: What librarians need to know. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.
Boyd, D. (2014). It's complicated: The social lives of networked teens. S.l.: Yale University Press.
Inagaki, N., & World Bank. (2007). Communicating the impact of communication for development: Recent trends in empirical research. Washington, D.C: World Bank.
Kirsh, S. J. (2010). Media and youth: A developmental perspective. Chichester, U.K: Wiley-Blackwell.
Stenzel, P., & Nesdahl, M. (2011). Who's in your social network?: Understanding the risks associated with modern media and social networking and how it can impact your character and relationships. Ventura, Calif: Regal.
In the recent past, the world of computing has experienced a great revolution characterized by increased use of the internet for business transactions, socialization, office communication and education among other uses. Social networks could be viewed as one of the greatest development in the field of computing. Although social networks are available for use by people of all ages, the youth are the most popular users of social networks. For a person borne in the modern age, it is difficult to comprehend a world without Facebook, twitter, Instagram, MySpace and Skype among others. Social networks enable instant communication with people all over the world without incurring high cost. The world has been transformed into a small virtual village since almost all processes inclusive of business, communication and meetings can be executed through social network platforms (Serap, 2010). Along with the several merits of social networks, there are several dangers that are associated with the use of social networks. Criminals have taken advantage of the free social platforms to increase the scope of their criminal activities (Serap, 2010). Additionally, the extreme exposure to negative information is also a threat to the future generation. In the following essay, the main focus is to verify the supposition that social networks are dangerous with arguments based on real life occurrences associated with the use of social networks.
Online bullying is one of the most prominent dangers associated with social networking sites. To many, this may not sound like a threat since they assume that registration and deactivation of an account in any social network is voluntary. It is possible for an individual to key in fake personal details including pictures which creates a virtual person who might portray different characteristic from the actual operator of the account (Guo, 2012). Since social networks are open for registrations to everyone, malicious people have also found a place to execute their evils. Some of these evil include online bullying, posting abusive messages to people or even damaging the image of a person. BBC News in 2008 posted an article containing details of a 49 year old woman who was involved in online bullying. The woman is said to have created a fake account where she was portrayed as a male teenager aged 16 years. Through the account, she managed to harass a 13-year old girl to a point of committing suicide (Jones, 2008). The main problem here is that it is difficult to establish the real identity of the person behind a particular user account. Unfortunately, even young children today are allowed to join social networks and the parents never bother to monitor the kind of conversations and information being exchanged over those networks. Such children are highly vulnerable to online bullying since they are not in a position to defend their stance particularly if the opponent is older (Jones, 2008).
Morality and Social Values
Social networks are a glaring threat to morality and good social values in most communities. As noted earlier, most children and teenagers are on social media without the knowledge of their parents or if their parents are aware, they do not care to find out what their children experience of social networks. While the problem is partially an error in parenting, there is too much exposure on social media; which supersedes the influence of parental guidance. Marsali Hancock, the president of US-based internet keep safe coalition argues that the greatest danger of social networks is that a child or teenager could connect with a person who is potentially harmful (Jones, 2008). For instance, if a person has a sex perversion, he/she might alter what a child believes about sexuality. It is also a platform where children may be exposed to explicit material or pornography. It is possible to argue that only the weak could be influenced on social media. However, it is important to note that teenagers are easily lured by technology or trendy material (University of the Pacific, 2014). Failing to fit into the trend is comparable to breaking a law which comes with repercussions such as isolation. Regardless of how bad a particular behavior is; teenagers tend to adopt it as long as it is branded as the new trend.
Profiles on Social Networks Are Not Private
The assumption the privacy settings provided by different social networks are sufficient may lead to reckless exchange of personal information. For instance a person could be having a conversation with a friend who they possibly know. However, the person may copy the conversations and give them to other people who were not meant to see the content of the conversation (U.S. Department of Justice, 2012). This mostly happens when friends are angry with each other and they decide to expose the private life of the other person as a way of exercising vengeance. As a result, social networks may compromise the privacy of an individual especially if they are not careful about the kind of information they share. Hackers are also out looking for information that would help them execute their plans. They target accounts for organizations or prominent people and use the information to tint their image or manipulate the mindset of the customers or supporters of the organization or political leaders (Dinerman, 2011).
Counter Argument Useful Information
Apart from being a threat to the morality and well being of teenagers, social networks are also beneficial to the users in several ways. The prime merit of social networks is that they for a pool of information which is beneficial to scholars. Additionally, people get to learn various life lessons through quotes, articles and life puzzles that are shared over social media. For instance, social networks allow formation of groups where people discus various issues on academics, business, life problems, religion and politics among others. Each group is formed to serve a particular purpose and only people who share a common interest are allowed into the group. It becomes easy for the group members to discuss different issues without having to meet at a physical venue. Recently, business organizations started using social media as a platform to collect product reviews and feedback from their customers. Whenever there is a problem with service provision at a particular office, customers are in a position to make their grievances known to the management through social media. As a result, social networks are a source of crucial information on how consumers view a particular product (Evans & McKee, 2010). The information could be used to enhance the quality of service so as to meet the customer’s expectation. Most people who have used social networks can agree to the fact that there is credible information that could be retrieved from social networks.
Business and Social Connectivity
The greatest change that the world has realized with creation of social networks is the ability to connect with friends and family as well as potential business partners. Before the existence of social networks, people had to travel to the physical stores or offices in order to purchase goods or services. However, social media has created an opportunity for people to socialize and make business transactions without visiting the physical stores or warehouses. The business world is experiencing numerous transformations owing to the increased use of social media to advertise products and services. Unlike the regular advertising methods, advertising on social media is cheap (Cross & Parker, 2004). Companies are also able to reach a large number of customers all over the globe. Still on connectivity, social networks are a medium for team building especially for companies that operate on a global platform. Employees working in different countries are in a position to exchange information instantly hence ensuring time efficacy. Additionally, supervisors can monitor the progress of tasks assigned to the employees without visiting the work place. Submission of reports and enquirer are made over the internet hence saving time that otherwise could have been used in travelling. The time is redirected to other business processes hence increasing the working capacity of the employees. Despite the dangers several dangers associated with social networks, companies that have invested on online trade and advertising have recorded huge profits during the time they have been in operation (Cross & Parker, 2004).
From the above discussion, it is clear that social networks are dangerous particularly to young children and teenagers. Teenagers and children are in their formative age which makes them vulnerable to different forces including wrong information. For instance, the teenage age is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. The stage is characterized by great enthusiasm towards new technology, information and exploration. Also, it is at this stage when most people experience problems with their own identity. As a result, any information that seems right can easily influence the behavior of teenagers. Social networks have played a major role in spreading immorality and bad behavior. There are also other problems such as personal privacy and online bullying which impact on the victims negatively.
Cross, L.R. & Parker, A. (2004). The hidden power of social networks: understanding how work really gets done in organizations. Boston: Harvard business school press.
Dinerman, B. (2011). Social networking and security risks.
Evans, D. & McKee, J. (2010). Social media marketing: the next generation of business engagement. Indiapolis: Wiley publishers.
Guo, M.R. (2012). Stranger danger and the online social network. Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Vol.23:617
Jones, (2008). How dangerous are social networks.
Serap, K. (2010). Technology convergence and social networks in information management. Berlin; Heidelberg.
U.S. Department of Justice. (2012). Internet social networking risks.
The debate surrounding the issue of how the internet has affected human and society social interaction skills and trends has been an ongoing debate. There have been various arguments presenting various view-points. Some of these arguments support the debates thereby implying that the internet has positively influenced the social life of individual and has therefore improved the social position of all people thereby giving everyone an equal platform to present themselves as opposed to previous trend (DeAndrea et al., 2012). On the other hand, other arguments postulate that the advent of the social media to be precise has led to the paralysis of social activities and thus social lives, thereby causing physical as well as mental harm to the people using it more often.
As this debate rages on there are various research studies being held to determine what the true case is on the ground (Turel, & Serenko, 2012). Basing the argument on such pieces of research and studies, this paper seeks to determine whether the internet has been helpful in forging new connections among people in the society, or it has been the cause of new cases of anti-social trends, loneliness, physical as well as psychological harm within the society. For this reason, only one question seeks to be addressed. Do social networking sites do more harm than good? The resolve for this question is that social networking does more harm than good, and this paper seeks to explore this aspect.
The use of social networking websites has positive as well as negative consequences. On the positive side, the concept of the internet has been well received by the world population in equal measure. The reason the internet is so widely used is because of its positive and life altering effects (Korda, & Itani, 2013). It is due to the social networking sites that many people have been able to find and reconnect with their long-lost friends and relatives. It has been quite convenient to maintain contact and keep in touch with friends and relatives through the Internet even though one might be geographically separated from their friends and family. This means that despite the fact the people have been increasingly mobile; their connections have been maintained due to social networking sites. This, however, is not the point of focus as the paper seeks to looks into the negative effects of social networking as it affects most people within the society.
The creating of meaningful relationships is mainly based on sharing one’s life with others that they care about. The internet has been quite instrumental in this being that it allows everyone to share their lives as well as their experiences through videos, photos, music as well as text (DeAndrea et al., 2012). Apart from this, social networking sites and chat rooms have enabled many people find and connect with new friends. Some people have even managed to find lifelong partners. An increasing number of newlyweds say that they met through social networks. Many people have also managed to handle the stress of isolation through the use of the internet (DeAndrea et al., 2012).
For instance, there can be a person who is new to a place and is therefore sidelined by the people he or she finds in that place, say in a school. Social media has been found to be a place where such a person can find peace and acceptance thereby overcoming that sense of isolation as well as discrimination (Baek¸ 2014). Overcoming the sense of isolation has therefore been widely mentioned as one of the greatest features of virtual worlds and the online community.
On the other side, the problems associated with the use of social media cannot be ignored. Debates about internet addictions have been an on-going conversation. This is a real concern because of direct effect on people’s psychological aspect (Huijser, 2008). People have had to grapple with the addition of using Internet communication sites just like people grapple with drug addiction. Worse still, infidelity through the internet has also increased according to research. Some arguments opine that social networking sites have led to many divorce cases since partners have been found cheating on each other using their social networking connections (Korda, & Itani, 2013). Also, many people have been fired from their jobs or found themselves in awkward positions when at work due to the use of social media. It might be that a person spends more time looking at their social media accounts as compared to the time the person spends working. Also, it could be that a person posted something on their page that later undermined their professional standing.
Further, there is also the issue of internet security, where there is a problem regarding the privacy of personal information (Huijser, 2008). There have been many instances where social media has been hacked, and valuable personal information has been taken which can help in identity theft.
Narcissism is also one problem that has been brought about by excessive use of the internet. Studies have indicated that the social networking sites have been a platform where narcissistic people have found a space to display their traits. People have become more interested in gaining popularity and fame as opposed to developing meaningful relationships. People have also developed poor social skills being that they don’t find it necessary to meet real people since they already have virtual friends (Turel, & Serenko, 2012).
Physically, the use of the internet has caused major harm. Being that the internet has necessitated quick communication; people don’t find it necessary to leave their comfort. This has led to cases of obesity, unfitness as well as problems relating to lack of exercise. This is because many Internet users don’t leave their seats leading to them spending countless hours at the same spot (Huijser, 2008). This necessitates a lack of exercise thereby leading to poor health and obesity. The issue of cyberbullying can also be attributed to the use of the internet.
In conclusion, even though the internet and social networking websites have been vital in improving connections and relationships, it has caused more harm than good. People have traded in their real lives in exchange for a virtual life, where they also have to face challenges.
Looking at Facebook, in particular, many have had to deal with problems of cyber-bullying as well as those of fraudsters as well as imposters. Many children have died or committed suicide due to the ridicule that they received from their peers on Facebook because of cyber bullying (Huijser, 2008). Cyber bullies thrive by ridiculing other users of the internet and making fun of them.
Fraudsters have managed to use social media to swindle money from unsuspecting users who would believe everything they see on a social media page. Many marriages have also been ruined since the partners found the other spouse engaging in other affairs with people they met online (Huijser, 2008). The list of the downsides and harms caused by social media is endless. Even though it has been a good thing, the time has come for the introduction of new and better measures that will allow for the reduction of the degree of harm social networking causes.
DeAndrea, D. C., Ellison, N. B., LaRose, R., Steinfield, C., & Fiore, A. (2012). Serious social media: On the use of social media for improving students' adjustment to college. The Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), 15-23.
Korda, H., & Itani, Z. (2013). Harnessing social media for health promotion and behavior change. Health promotion practice, 14(1), 15-23.
Turel, O., & Serenko, A. (2012). The benefits and dangers of enjoyment with social networking websites. European Journal of Information Systems, 21(5), 512-528.
Baek, Y.,. (2014). Trends and Applications of Serious Gaming and Social Media. Singapore: Springer.
Huijser, Hendrik. (2008). Exploring the educational potential of social networking sites: the fine line between exploiting opportunities and unwelcome imposition. 45-54.) Central Queensland University, Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development Centre.
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