Social Media and How It Effects Interpersonal Relationships

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Zachary Aichele
AP English
Brinkerhoff
5/14/2013
Social media platforms are defined as a constructed private or semi-public profile within a bounded system that links other users with whom they share a connection with and the “webs” between friends and family are created (Boyd). Social media platforms are decreasing the value of interpersonal relationships in our youth and this has led to a noticeable nuance in the values of the previous generation and the current one. The history of social networks begins with the formation of the website SixDegrees.com. In 1997 this website opened up the idea for creating a list of users that could interact with eachother on a personal level over the internet. There were many other social network platforms that rose to fame but then quickly declined. The platform Facebook began at Harvard University and was a strictly .edu based platform. The .edu domain is related with education based systems. Facebook was then eventually opened up to all users and allowed for non-edu addresses. Social networking sites have increased their range of access by becoming known worldwide and and fall of popular social networks, their range of access, and how SNS’s became mainstream. (Boyd) Social media reduces the importance of interpersonal relationships by reducing the frequency of physical communications. Physical communications are an important part of modern culture because they help to develop social mannerisms and strengthen the ability to maintain social relationships. This generations youth have also begun to play a much larger part in their own learning experience. Today’s youth have grown up surrounded by advancing technology and that has changed the way they interact with each other and adults. They can have constant access to contact their friends via texting, and mobile phones as well in public ways like Facebook and Twitter. Youth have begun pressing into their interests by searching on Google and “lurking” in chat rooms. This has lead to a major increase in self-guided and peer-based learning (Ito). This major transition to a media enveloped society has greatly affected youth so exponentially because they are permitted to have ‘round the clock access and are provided with devices to access any information they desire with no difficulty. The main issue that children and teens face when using social networking sites is what is appropriate to make public on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Many things such as addresses and pictures are made public to anyone searching for them. Most websites allow privacy settings and usually enact them automatically for minors. A person may accept a “friend request” from someone they have never met and this poses a major problem for the protection of the integrity of today’s youth. A common problem that social networking sites face are the creation of fake profiles that are used to harass someone or to elicit illegal sexual activity. Creating an online profile that is fake to emotionally harm someone violates the terms and conditions set up by the social networking website. The creation of a fake online profile to verbally harm someone is thought by some people to violate the First Amendment because it is permitted to have freedom of speech but not to intentionally harm someone (Conan). Most people when signing up for a social media platform or other similar web based operating systems, are required to agree to the terms and conditions put in place by the site’s directors. This contract that the user agrees to asks the user “have you read and agree to the terms and conditions” and by ticking the box you state that you have. The anwser to this question is commonly referred to as “the biggest lie ever told”.  When signing the User Agreement one agrees to grant the site permission to analyze their personal information for purposes such as ad-tracking. Companies hold the terms in conditions they have...
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