Since the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there has been much debate on their benefits and detriments. While social networking sites are a useful tool in our increasingly connected world, they can also adversely affect our development and the nature of our social interactions. Hence, it is important to first identify their advantages and disadvantages to effectively use them.
Social networking sites offer a medium for people to keep in touch with their acquaintances and maintain constant contact with their friends.
This increased connectivity opens new paths for relationships to be built and bonds to be strengthened. In this way, social networking sites help to complement and enhance a person’s social experience. Sites such as Facebook and Tumblr allow people to find out more about their friends’ interests, as well as their personal lives, which can lead to more fruitful conversations and discussions, leading to better and stronger relationships.
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Additionally, social networking sites help people to share their thoughts and feelings with one another.
Twitter is an example where this sharing of thoughts is facilitated in an innovative way. Displaying trends allow people to find out about current events and keep up with the news. By linking Twitter to other social media like Facebook and Instagram, it opens more possibilities for sharing and learning.
Moreover, social networking sites can help bolster productivity by acting as a medium for people to discuss freely and share ideas, especially when face-to-face meetings are difficult to organise.
Online discussions also allow information to be processed easily, are generally more orderly, and can be stored safely. Social networking also provides opportunities for studies such as surveys to be conducted easily. Hence, social networking sites can be used as a tool to boost productivity.
On the other hand, social networking sites deprive us of face-to-face interaction, which is detrimental to the development of social skills, especially for adolescents. By removing opportunities for direct social contact, our ability to interpret expressions and decipher tones decreases, affecting future interactions with others as well as our relationships. Lack of face-to-face interaction can also affect our emotional health as we require the intimacy and affection of fellow human beings to achieve emotional stability.
Use of social networking sites also results in more opportunities to fall prey to scams and other online threats. Certain sites can be utilized by hackers to introduce viruses in various ways, or by scammers to con unsuspecting victims. Social networking make victims feel safe as they believe themselves to be surrounded by friends, making it easier for them to fall prey to such threats. Furthermore, social networking has increased cases of cyber-bullying, especially prevalent among youths, which causes harm to victims and in extreme cases, can lead to depression and lead to suicide. The perpetrators of these acts can remain anonymous in an online setting and can continually harm and threaten victims, causing much distress. Evidently, such dangers cannot be taken lightly.
In conclusion, social networking sites offer great benefits when effectively utilized, but as with all tools, it inherently possesses some risks and problems which must be mitigated. As social media continues to evolve, we can only hope it changes for the better and continues to enhance our social lives.