Most people in the world rely on their phones to talk to someone unfortunately we live in a world where communication all takes place through a piece of technology. Whether it is through a simple text message or social networking site we’ve come to revolve around social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and now Instagram. This essay is about Social Networking sites in general and arguing that they are negative to our communication experience in detrimental ways. While Face-to-Face communication is fading away it’s being replaced by social networking profiles.
These profiles allow us to communicate with each other easily without having to meet up somewhere to talk but what they lack is the emotion and connection you get out of a conversation in person. “The negative effects of these social networking sites overweigh the positive ones” (Michael 9). In an article, “Facebook Thrills Facebook Kills,” author Sonali Acharjee explains the different perspectives Facebook and social networking have in the area of India. She argues, “Facebook and Social Networks have blurred all boundaries between virtual and the real” (Acharjee 56). Achrarjee first discusses how young people become curious with the idea of creating an online account then ends it with the negative effects social networks like Facebook have caused.
The reality of social networks is the damage they cause especially to young people. Some of the harmful things that come from owning an online profile are stalkers, bullying, and in some extreme cases, suicide, as well as “reduc[ing] their learning and research capabilities” (Michael 16). The thought of any of these issues being brought up doesn’t cross anyone’s mind because we believe connecting with others through Twitter and Facebook isn’t harmful. Unfortunately, “cyber suicide rates are growing by the day,” (Achrarjee 59) and the “majority involves the youth” (59).
Many suicides are due to bullying that takes place over these social networking sites. The term of just “poking fun on Facebook” (49) often leads to the symptoms of depression, and peer pressure. Most people, more specifically, teens, do not realize that the words they type just for fun could deeply hurt someone. It usually just starts off as a joke that maybe one of your peers may have started, but it usually escalates to a greater level because one can easily cross the fine line of it being a joke to actual hurt. Despite the fact that there is a lack of emotional connection through the internet, the emotional effect of those words depends on the reader.
Yeah, you can say something as a joke, but you cannot hear the tone of voice the person has. It is up to the reader to decide whether to put a nice friendly tone or maybe the most aggressive tone. While not all bullying leads to death there are several other problems that include, stalking, and even raping. Virtual reality can give a lot of young folks a sense of security because they’re hiding behind their computer screen, but few of them know that they can be followed through social networking sites and be watched based on their updates. Some say Social Networking is “frightening and illegal invasion of privacy” (Scott 14). There are millions of people on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace you can essentially meet and chat with, but do you really know who you’re talking to?
There have been reports of “83 million fake users exist(ing) worldwide on Facebook” (Acharjee 70) creating accounts and pretending to be others just to grab certain peoples’ attention. In example; an attractive or popular teenager who knows a lot has a ‘fake account’ made of them. This person may not realize it but anyone can make this account. Of course you’re not going to see this person face to face but only through a simple profile picture or icon. Social networks can “expose lots of young people” (Robert 30) and “steal their private information” (54). This person could be talking to someone who they are interested in, then meet up with them and realize they aren’t who they claim to be.
This is known as identity theft which occurs a lot. Virtually you could be anyone you want but in reality you can only be yourself. “Websites should try to protect many young people from violators trying to steal their private information” (73) not allow them to access their online profile. A safe way of protecting your identity is making your information private for no one to see. It helps prevent any fake profiles and minimizes any stalker that may grab a hold on your information. Hackers being a common issue caused by Social Networks they pose a huge threat by being able to potentially track you down to your address and actually stalk you.
Most teens don’t realize the dangers of the online world with social networking sites. Very few clearly understand their privacy rights and how easily it can be compromised. One of the many ways is by allowing apps that have third parties being able to access their profile, or not,”yet be[en] made aware of the downside of disclosing their private details online” (Achrarjee 45). Another common negative effect social networks cause are health risks. An example of that is, “connecting to websites for a long time while sitting leads to health problems like weight gain” (Robert 26).
Being connected to online profiles 24/7 can lead to other health risks as well. Most people loose face-to-face communication which causes an “increases in their levels of depression and loneliness” (Winkler 16). Instead of physically being outside enjoying a beautiful day with friend’s people would rather sit in front of a computer and talk to their online friends about the weather outside. So sitting in front of a computer monitor checking your Facebook isn’t good because you’re not being active for so long. This causes you to snack more often and all that junk food we ingest gets stored up around our bodies and causes us to gain unnecessary weight. We can prevent this by going outside and distancing ourselves from the virtual world. An increase in isolation is another issue that occurs when people lose face-to-face communication with others.
The “declines in the size of their social circle” (15) is a negative effect caused by Social Networking sites. Online profiles are there to help connect lost friends with each other and create group advertisements but people take the sites for granted thinking they have all their friends online and that they don’t need real people to hang out with. Sadly, these users are mistaken because this can lead to psychological issues down the road and “cause alarming changes in the brain of young users” (Derbyshire 1).
A common suggestion for people is” before they start social networking, they need to learn to make real relationships with people” (69). This will help with prevent people from becoming anti-social with others. Social networking has also become a distraction for people. Instead of getting their work done they lean towards checking their Facebook for messages from friends and updating their Twitter status. This effect is minor but can worsen with time if not fixed.
Personally, I relate to this issue because it’s just easier to go online and check a message then having to do my homework. Social Networking sites also “reduces their command over the language and their creative writing skills” (Michael 30) when students rely on them for essays. “Students mostly use slang words or shortened forms of words on social networking sites” (28) this doesn’t allow young people to expand their vocabulary in a successful way. The slang used on social sites should remain on them. However, most students in high school and college don’t realize it until they get their paper back with a failing grade on it. Studies have shown that “Americans spend 13 hours per week online, and more than 20 percent of that time is logged on social networks” (Scott 23).
People are becoming more and more likely to check the online profiles then proofread their paperwork at work. While the issue of procrastination rises “the digital culture continues to evolve, bringing with it new challenges and risks” (129). Our society now revolves around the new social sites being presented to us and the new designs they come in. Unfortunately, this has caused harmful effects to people not only physical and mentally but also socially. Social Networking site are taking over face-to-face communication and leaving people feelings alone and isolation from human interaction. Networking sites in general have harmful effects to our society.
Acharjee, Sonali. “Facebook Thrills Facebook Kills.” India Today. 08 Oct 2012: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Apr 2013.
Derbyshire, D. (2009, February 23). Mail Online. Retrieved April 4, 2013, from www.dailymail.co.uk
Robert. (2011). The Woosong Herald. Retrieved April 4, 2013, from The Woosong Herald: www.woosongherald.com
Scott, Dylan. “Legislating Social Media in the States.” Governing. 01 Jul 2012: n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Apr 2013
Winkler, T. (2009, March 5). The Daily Pennisylvanian . Retrieved April 4, 2013, from www.thedp.com
T, M. (2012, November 2). Negative Effects of Social Networking Sites for Students. Retrieved April 17, 2013, from http://performancing.com/negative-effects-of-social-networking-sites-for-students/