Problems with Social Networking

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Throughout the years, communication has become excessively dependent on technology. Where people once had to physically go out in order to see someone else, it now only takes a laptop and web cam in order to get the same effect. Some of the most major sources of cyber communication are social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Although these sites do allow people all across the world to get in touch with one another, they continue to negatively affect the lives of many of its users. The use of these social networks endangers people’s privacy, has a negative impact on students’ grades, changes offline socialization, and may even lead to psychological issues.

The least commonly pondered issue with these social networking sites is the invasion of privacy. It is not hard for information to get leaked over the internet, which can later be used against a person. In, “Teenagers, Parents and Teachers Unaware of Social Networking Risks,” author, Victoria, discusses a report by a Dr. Henderson in which he discusses a few potential issues. "Such risks exist in the areas of privacy, breach of confidence, disclosure, defamation, intellectual property rights, copyright infringement and criminal laws including harassment and distribution of offensive material, and this report recommends that education about the full range of legal risks potentially encountered via social media should be part of a fully integrated school curricula," Dr Henderson said (Victoria). These are the things that many people do not read or consider when they sign up for these networking sites. By being on social sites, you are allowing anyone access to your most personal information. There are even ways around privacy settings. In, “Negative Impact of Social Networking Sites,” Karen Frazier reports, While many users feel their personal data is safe on social networking sites because they have set high levels of security settings, research suggests this is not the case. According to a 2010 Northeastern University and Max Planck Institute for Software Systems study, researchers created an algorithm to discover an individual's personal attributes by examining the one thing that most people leave public even when all other privacy settings are place: their friend list. Using the algorithm, researchers were able to infer many personal traits merely from friend lists, including educational level, university attended, hometown and other private data (Frazier). This study shows that even when using all of the privacy settings, there are still ways for others to find out personal information. This information can be used for a number of inappropriate reason, such as stalking a person by figuring out where they live, work, go to school, etc. The dangers behind having personal business displayed on the internet are limitless.

Another, more common, issue with social networking sites is the toll they take on students' grades. Facebook and Twitter have become popular even amongst younger children and are a distraction in almost every grade level. Instead of taking time to study or do homework assignments, students get side-tracked by the computer and can spend hours at a time on these sites. “Facebook can be distracting and can negatively impact learning. Studies found that middle school, high school and college students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute study period achieved lower grades” (OneIndia News). This distraction does not only effect younger students, professors take notice when college students' work becomes lower quality as well. Marlee Shaulis wrote an article in CalTimes in which she did a number of interviews about the effects of Facebook on college students. According to Professor Swarndeep Gill of the CalU earth science department Facebook can be very distracting. He says that many of his students’ grades show how they get sucked into distractions such as Facebook and remain glued to their computers for hours. He is...
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