The Effects of Social Networking on Our Society

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Dr. Matt Godbey
WRD 110
6 December 2012
The Effects of Social Networking on Our Society
The use of electronic and social media has become a staple in our society. No matter where one travels one can have access to this great resource. But has this accessibility and dependence upon electronic and social media gone too far? Is this passion for instant gratification affecting our ability to communicate with those around us on a personal level? Another question to ask is whether or not this constant access to technology will help our children develop the necessary skills to succeed in life; whether through multitasking or being able to adapt to new situations. There have been many studies that argue both sides of this issue. Some say these new technologies will improve the quality of life for our children and others argue that instead of helping, it will hinder their ability to effectively communicate. The impact of the internet and social media has permanently altered the lives of all who participate in its web. Kevin Cain’s article, “The Negative Effects of Facebook on Communication” argues that Facebook is completely changing how we communicate with one other. He says it is creating a society that values, “…frequent communication more than meaningful communication,” (Cain). He believes this has caused us to have shrinking attention spans and has made us want to share more personal information that we normally would not be comfortable sharing with others. “[We] overshare a variety of information that was once unthinkable for public consumption,” (Cain). On the other hand, Lori Takeuchi’s more researched article, “How Tweens Use Digital Media to Develop Their Identities” is not quite sure what kind of consequences our overexposure to the internet will have. She believes it can have both positive and negative effects based on a child’s exposure to the internet and the parental involvement surrounding its use. Takeuchi writes, “…reading Club Penguin’s newspaper, for example, can help foster children’s reading comprehension skill and negotiate, collaborate, and evaluate,” (Takeuchi). Even though Takeuchi believes these can be important aids to our children’s learning curve, she does not think that it should completely replace the non-technological part of our lives. She states, “Rather than replacing or eliminating activities, digital media represent an additional layer of their everyday lives,” (Takeuchi). Takeuchi is very clear in stating family and outdoor activities are still very important and necessary. Although it is clear that electronic and social media is having a powerful impact on our society, it still is not entirely clear whether this influence is for the betterment of the society as a whole. It is however, unquestionable that the internet has changed our lives forever. Although the long term effect of electronic and social media has not been thoroughly vetted, it seems as if the misuse of this resource can leave us with undesirable results. Electronic and social media has positive functionality in our everyday life. It can enable a person to research a wide range of topics including, searching medical diagnoses or treatments on sites like WebMD for injuries or illnesses, collecting material for school projects, or it can reconnect you with old friends through Facebook and Twitter. Although communication through Facebook and Twitter can be entertaining and fun, it consumes untold hours each month. Surprising, most users are unaware of this fact. A study in August of 2011 showed that Facebook usage alone accounted for nearly eight hours of online time per person. Twitter did not register quite as high on the scale of online time usage, but it is believed to be because Twitter, like most other websites, does not track the time spent using mobile phones. So, “these numbers only track visits to Twitter.com, and do not take into account mobile usage,” (Konrardy). That means that the total time spent on these...
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