In the following essay, the benefits and consequences of social networking are explained and the different uses of social media are revealed. Websites, such as Facebook, have grown so popular that they have been created into mobile apps for individuals to use when he or she is unable to access a computer. With the significant increase in the number of its users, social networking has become a universal activity with its positive effects outweighing its negative ones. From being able to connect people from the opposite sides of the world to being able to provide a surplus of information, social networking sites have had a symbolic impact on the society that exists today.
Without them, relationships would lose their potential to truly bloom and communication would become extremely limited. And although their opponents may claim that they bring too many safety risks, which include the effects that cyber bullying may bring, these websites have brought many advancements and have changed themselves over time to create a better environment for their users. The positive effects that social networking has created can be found everywhere, whether it is by enabling companions to communicate after a separation or by creating memorable relationships.
Social networking sites have grown so popular today that many individuals, especially teenagers, reference them in their everyday language and conversations. A social networking site involves enabling users to create profiles within it to interact with others. With the increase of technological advances, the use of these websites has increased dramatically because of their many benefits that contribute to everyday life and their ability to simplify many activities, such as online shopping, that would have been difficult without the sites. A majority of people would automatically be able to think of Facebook and Twitter, extremely popular social networking sites that have millions of users, as perfect examples.
These sites are not completely new forms of technology, but they’ve just recently created tension with the young adult community throughout the world. As the need for more technology advances increases, the dependence on those sites also go up to perform tasks conveniently without the need for taking the longer, more difficult approach that many of our ancestors would have used. While the over usage of social networking can be seen as harmful, both academically and emotionally, it ultimately results in maintaining and creating better relationships, improving the economy, and aiding knowledge by quickly discovering plenty of information about nearly any topic of interest.
Social media improves current relationships and allows new friendships to form. This usually benefits the people who are more timid to express his or her ideas and opens up many new possibilities for future relationships between family or friends because “its social conventions permit people who are not intimately acquainted to discuss their inner feelings in ways not customary at social gatherings” (Introduction to Online Social Networking, 2007). Also, this provides the necessary communication without having the need to experience the awkward atmosphere through a physical meeting. These sites offer deeper perspectives into the lives of people throughout the world. This is extremely helpful because “at a personal level, you aren’t obligated to do anything at all, so it’s completely up to you as to how you want to represent yourself online” (Silver, 2011). Starting off on a social networking site already has the advantage of having a better understanding of who that person really is, along with the individual’s interests without going through the process of getting to know him or her before finally asking.
Because of this, “when people who have met online meet in person, they start off at a higher level of involvement than they would if they were strangers” (Introduction to online social networking, 2007). Also, with the technological advances that are accessible today, international communication is gradually becoming more popular. This will enable many people from all around the world to interact through websites and form valuable relationships. Social media allows the quick and easy sharing of documents, photos, videos, and more, which provides plenty of opportunities to interact with others and make progress with creating better relationships that would last longer because of the networking sites that add onto the physical meetings. Websites, such as Facebook or Twitter, provide multiple benefits for expanding and solidifying friendships when individuals aren’t able to communicate immediately, face-to-face.
Cyber bullying is a common result of the usage of social media. While some might argue that “cyber bullying increases as the use of online sites goes up”, studies have shown that the actual sites have little to no connection to the harmful words being exchanged (Introduction to Are Social Networking Sites Harmful?, 2011). For example, “educators, parents, and cops often believe that Facebook is the reason for bullying… [However], networking sites are only a new medium for teenagers to wage their wars-they don’t create them” (Introduction to Should Social Networking Web Sites Be Banned, 2008). It is impossible to live in a society without any form of disagreement or hate, so it should not be surprising to discover those qualities online. Many also worry about the possible hate comments left by anonymous users.
Yet many people are still unaware that there are also many ways to prevent this type of cyber bullying in the first place, such as turning off the options that allow others to send these hurtful messages. In fact, the majority of social networking websites has evolved throughout the years and has developed newer ways to avoid such situations. Although some may argue that these options are difficult to come across and too confusing to operate, it is the user’s responsibility to read through the website’s policies and options before getting involved. The sites only strengthen the existing bonds between two individuals or a group of people and many seem to forget that “cruelty is NOT limited to Facebook” (Introduction to Should Social Networking Web Sites Be Banned, 2008). Because of this, it is unreasonable to put the blame for cyber bullying on sites such as Facebook, when in reality; it’s only a more direct way of communication between multiple people, whose relationship had already been complicated from the start.
Additional benefits that these sites provide include income and the increased probability of finding jobs and tracking specific individuals. Advertisements are becoming more available because of the increasing social websites, which acts as a source of gradual income and also helps spread awareness about possible occupation experiences. With the growing number of users who use sites such as Twitter and Facebook, looking for jobs and tracing criminals has been getting easier due to the abundance of social connections. Many people take advantage of this large web of communications to find employment and to make the world a safer place. Also, digital tracks online have made it possible for more criminals online to get caught and prosecuted. The advances in sharing information with each other has largely benefited a growing number of communities by creating a sense of unison and teamwork, such as working together to find a missing person. With the help of these social sites, plans can be executed much more thoroughly and efficiently because of the increased amount of communication.
Still, the number of sexual predators on the Internet is a very concerning topic, particularly to the parents who believe that there is no way to prevent that type of danger. The “false sense of security” that social networks supposedly provide has worried those who are reluctant on sharing personal information (Introduction to Should Social Networking Web Sites Be Banned?, 2008). And while some opponents might argue that the sites are too dangerous with public information that is shared for almost anyone to see, “safety precautions are available in settings” and many modifications have taken place to decrease the potential danger on social networking sites (book citation).
In fact, surveys showed that “most of the fear…come from lack of knowledge about the social media networks and false assumptions about what kind of information you are allowed to share” (Silver, 2011). As stated earlier, there have been many movements towards creating a much safer environment for the younger users of social networks which can be clearly displayed with the increase in the number of online criminals caught. For example, “Myspace removed 29,000 sex offenders in July 2007” with their DOPA plan (Introduction to Should Social Networking Web Sites Be Banned?, 2008). This plan, abbreviated for “Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006”, was extremely successful at not only creating justice by properly persecuting the criminals but also with protecting many of the users.
Social networking comes with an abundance of information about practically anything and spreads communication efficiently. The government also uses this media to interact with the citizens and get feedback for its latest actions. These sites “make government agencies and officials more accessible” and act as a significant benefit for the usage of social websites (Attitudes of Adults…, 2009). Voting participation is also increased when involving the option to do so from a social networking site. A form of ‘bandwagon’ can be used on Facebook because of the website’s function that notifies a user about his or her friends’ activities. This often results in a domino effect with an exponentially growing awareness of the topic in a very quick and effective way. Also, studies have shown that “more people use social networking sites to get information like the daily news and weather reports than any other source” (book citation).
The information that they have can actually benefit many students, and can be used as an environment to learn. Despite its reputation to weaken a student’s grades, social networking can easily do just the opposite. With the right amount of research done and the accurate information obtained from credible sources, these websites can have a large, positive impact on a student’s knowledge. This also allows similar students from different locations to share and combine their ideas and notes so that they can enhance their understanding and eventually, their overall academic performance. With the broadness of social media, new and useful information can easily be found in nearly every aspect. So, in many ways, social networking can be used for multiple purposes, such as obtaining educational information in regard to the current plans of the government or for more general knowledge.
The valuable abilities to improve relationships, secure the safety of the Internet, and increase the awareness of people from different locations around the world, are all qualities that social networks can easily support our society with. Today’s society involves a high usage for these websites but, because of the large amount of controversy over the subject, a limit for improvement has been set. Cooperation is needed to fully release the boundaries on social networking and, without the necessary support, the potential is diminished and we are ultimately unable to move forward. Because of this, the limitations that have been set on social networking should decrease to allow more flexibility and options. With the importance of forming healthy relationships, benefiting the economy and government’s next decisions, and providing a large selection of valuable intellect, social networking sites clearly prove to be beneficial and a necessary tool in the life of a standard individual today.
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