Evaluation Essay on Social Networking

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Social Networking: Negative Impact on Society, Especially the Youth Social networking sites allow you to connect with old friends from high school, family that lives far away, in my case, even in another country as missionaries, friends down the street, coworkers, and just about anyone else you can think of. This can make you feel more connected to the world around you. You can keep up with what everyone is doing and accomplishing in their lives very easily through statuses and pictures posted every day. I have met new family members, whether by marriage or by birth, through Facebook who I otherwise have not had the opportunity to meet. One of my uncles, who recently passed away, had an affair about thirty years ago and did not realize he had a son from that affair until his son decided to find his father. Facebook is the only way I have been able to meet my new found cousin and his family. But when you start looking at the downside of social networking, it can make you wonder if it is really worth the cost. There have been many debates on the issues of using these sites for many years, so there have been quite a few downsides brought to the public’s attention such as health issues like anxiety or depression, lower grades for students of all levels, decreased productivity in the workplace, someone being stalked and so forth. Since there are way too many to cover in this paper, I am going to concentrate on three that I feel are some of the most important issues. Some of the issues with social networking sites are identity theft made easier, cyber bullying, which has caused many suicides, and strong face-to-face relationships suffering and being replaced by weaker online relationships. Identity theft has been a big problem for a long time. Now, with social networking sites where people freely put out their information for everyone to see, it is becoming easier to fall victim. “Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the world,” said Bill Morrow, CEO of CSIdentity. (Weidaw) According to PCWorld, “A third of social networkers have at least three pieces of information visible on their profiles that could make them vulnerable to ID theft.”(Skinner) Many sites ask for or require information that can be used to steal your identity. Some of the information may be your full name, date of birth, phone number, address, hometown, schools and graduation dates, other affiliations, etc. Users can choose whether this information is shared on their profiles and, if it is, who it is shared with. Studies have shown that approximately 80% of people who use social media are concerned about the security of their information, but yet over half of those still do nothing to protect it because they feel like they can trust their “friends” on the sites. Some of this can be prevented by setting their privacy settings so that not everyone in the world can see it, but many users have not even been into the privacy settings to see what they are automatically set for and to change them. (Siciliano) Also, most people do not even read the privacy policies of sites before they become a part of them. Even if the privacy settings are correctly set, identity thieves still have a way to get to your information. They can find people you are friends with and send them a request. If it is accepted by your friends, they can then send you a request. As I said before, many people trust their social “friends” and if they receive a request from someone who has several mutual friends, they are likely to accept the request even if they do not know the person. “According to Harris Interactive, 18 percent of men will accept a woman's friend request, even if they do not know the person. About 7 percent of women will accept an unknown man's friend request. A total of five percent of U.S. adults will accept every friend request they receive.” (Reisinger) If adults, who should definitely know better, will accept these requests, imagine what these numbers are...
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