Social Networking Sites-Boon/Bane

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Social networking:
For years, social networking sites didn't exist, but yet people kept in touch. These days, with social networking sites becoming a part and parcel of our daily lives, there are advantages and disadvantages that come along with them. For example, you can make a friend from Timbuktu and on the flip side your account can get hacked and you can find yourself in a big mess.

A recent research revealed that teenagers tend to hide the real stuff by using code language you may never understand. Teens are basically using them to stop parents and employers from judging them on the basis of their social activities such as partying, drinking and drugs.

Instead of writing they are drunk, teens post 'Getting MWI' or mad with it', reports telegraph.co.uk. , a regular user says "Of course the code language exists and it is quite a trendy and potent way to say things without stating the obvious. Things are not as safe as people consider it to be. Parents do get a hang of it, but after a while."

"This lingo between teenagers has been in existence for many years. With social networking sites, it has got a different dimension. I don't see anything wrong with it."

"Every generation has its own way of communicating. We cannot judge good or bad behaviour through it, but it's the actual behavior which should be a source of concern for them than any secret language,"

It can also be a source of a rebel cause for a generation that wears Che Guevera T-shirts as Facebook addict Avirat Akre says, "Its the Gen-X way of breaking rules when they mistake parenting for pestering and tend to rebel without a cause."

"Today I was supposed to finish work at 9, but being Easter I didn't get out until 10. When I got to my boyfriend's house he questioned me about where I'd been," one participant said.

"I was able to say 'check the [device] if you don't believe me'. I then realised that in a situation where you had to prove you had been somewhere, the device could be used as evidence," the participant stated.

One participant also thought a small version of the device could be used to covertly collect evidence against a potentially guilty partner.

But participants became worried when they discovered the loggers were not always accurate, sometimes recording their location a street away from where they actually were.

Abbas says they were uneasy about the possibility of inaccurate location information being used against someone.

"The device has the potential to ruin people's lives because it has the potential to give an incorrect location," another participant said.

"For example, if a husband were to track his wife's car, she may have gone shopping, but it's showing the location of the car in the street next to the shopping centre, this could cause many trust issues to arise unnecessarily," the participant said.

Abbas' research has also found concerns about the ability of people to tamper with the tracking technology and "lie" about where they are.

Accuracy aside, people were concerned about the potential for the technology to erode trust among friends and family, says Abbas, who presented the pilot study results at this week's IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society conference in Wollongong.

"You're working towards trusting a technology rather than trusting someone you're in a relationship with," she said.

Abbas says while technological solutions such as privacy settings that allow one to hide locations would go some way to alleviating some concerns, human trust issues are difficult to account for.

"These devices provide you with information on where someone is but it doesn't provide you with information on why they're there and what they're doing," she revealed.

"It doesn't actually tell you what a person's motives are," she added.

She says this means users can easily make "inferences and misrepresentations". Social networking sites have become caste wide...
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