Advantages of Social Networks

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Robert Patton
ENG110, Professor Silvey
30 September 2011
The Disadvantages of Social Network Sites
It is true that social network sites are growing at an alarming rate and that there are many advantages and disadvantages in using social network sites. If one understands these advantages and attempts to avoid the disadvantages, then one can use these sites to improve their knowledge, increase personal relationships with Family and friends, and create a functioning secure social network on-line. Because social network sites play such an important and valuable role in society today, it is detrimental that one undertstands the disadvantages to using them. Social network sites can cause addiction, lower grades, cyber bullying, health problems, and a false sense of privacy. The intent of this short essay is to bring to forefront, these five major disadvantages. One disadvantage, and one of the most overlooked, is that social network sites can be addictive. According to a study of 1000 Americans conducted by Pam Dyer of Retrevo (Dyer), several questions were asked, on when, where, and how much time they spend on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Over 48% of those surveyed said they check their on-line status in bed. Facebook recently published its user statistics, which revealed the network had over 800 million users (Zuckerberg). If these studies by Dyer are correct, and the statistics of Zuckerberg are accurate, then that means almost 395 million people check or update their Facebook status while in bed. Each day more and more users become addicted to social network sites. Social network sites can lead to a decrease in a students GPA, and this affects high school and college students alike. By spending more time on-line and on social sites, one is expending valuable time that one normally would use to study. In April of 2009, Aryn Karpinski (Karpinski) conducted a study with 219 undergraduate and graduate college students attending Ohio State University and determined that there is a relationship among Facebook usage and lower grades. She concluded that Facebook users had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.5, while non-users had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0. That is almost an entire letter grade. Perhaps college students may find other ways to spend their time if they were not on Facebook or Twitter, and they would probably still get lower grades, but perhaps the lower GPA’s could truly be associated with spending too much time socializing on the Internet. Cyber bullying is also growing at an alarming rate. In a recent survey conducted by the Cherry Hill Police Department, Cherry Hill, New Jersey (Cherry) revealed that 42% of kids surveyed were victims of cyber bullying while using the Internet. This survey, conducted on 1500 teens, also revealed that 35% have at some time on the Internet, been threatened by another user and that 53% of those surveyed say they themselves are guilty of saying inappropriate or hurtful things to someone else while on-line. ABC News (Goldman) reported last year that nine Massachusetts teenagers have been charged with “unrelenting bulling” of a 15 year old who killed herself in January 2010. The teens routinely tormented Phoebe Prince, an Irish immigrant, through emails and Facebook for dating an older football player. These oral assaults lasted for three months before Phoebe finally hung herself in her home. Bullying is no longer about strong kids picking on weak kids on the playground; it is now all day, every day, and consists of online verbal bashing. Teens can now bully others through email, chat rooms and on social network sites. In a current web article written by Ashley Day (Day), of Everyday Health Properties, Day examines Facebook in an attempt to define a new illness called, “Facebook Depression”. Day defined it as “a condition said to result when tweens and teens spend too much time on social media, leading them to turn to substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or...
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