Social Networking and its impact on our society
As we progress into the future, the technology that was once simple to use is now beyond an average human’s comprehension. We can say the same as social networking is rapidly increasing and becoming a norm in our society, as it continues to generate a large impact on our society day by day. For example, social media is considered the new black, where Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more social networking websites have become a part of people’s everyday lives. “Social networking has grown to become an integral part of the lives of young adults, with almost three fourths (72%) of 18-29 year olds using at least one social networking site”. (Lenhart, et al.) Our culture of face-to-face conversation is slowly coming to an end, which is unfortunate, as personal ties contract and individuals are busy becoming selfish. Not only have we stopped meeting one another face-to-face but we have also stopped calling and making conversations personal. Regrettably, social networking has become an integrated norm in our society as it has supposedly helped us stay connected with one another, however the harsh reality is that social networking has hindered our ability to understand that it is essentially negative for us in various distinctive ways. There is an unfortunate false belief behind social media that it is convenient and helpful but in reality it only causes us harm. “Concern is based on the idea that chronic Internet use results in fewer face-to-face interactions with friends and family, resulting in the weakening of social connections and an increase in the levels of depression, loneliness, stress and isolation”. (Gowen et al.) Social media deteriorates emotional ties, mental health, limits ones privacy and weakens ones academic standing. Family and friends are the people who assist us through day-to-day life, and in the past we would visit and talk to one another face-to-face, or talk on the phone for hours relishing about our day, or just to make sure that the other individual is doing well. Unfortunately, since social media has made an appearance, it has taken over our lives, and instead of a phone call, you will receive a like on a picture or a simple message that asks how they are. Not only does this consume more of everyone’s time typing everything out and then sending it, it is also less personal than a phone call. Messages begin to lose importance and warmth, as well as lose the same effect as a phone call or what a visit ensures. (Fileta) “I think a lot of relationships have been ruined by one person’s addiction to social media, whether that addiction leads to a connection with a past love or crush—and that can be detrimental—or sometimes it simply means that you get home at night to spend time with your significant other and you have nothing to talk about because you’ve spoken about everything all day through social media or you’ve looked through each other’s social media feeds.”. (Dockterman). If the individual you haven’t spoken to in a while updates their status then it is a signal to us that they are doing well and progressing. We tend to believe that updating our status helps others know what we are up to, but the harsh reality is that no one truly cares unless it is relevant to them. Another way social media has impacted us, is emotionally, and the close relationships we hold with our significant other. “75% said that social media affects romantic relationships ‘negatively,’ 18% positively, and 7% said that social media had no effect”. (Teens on Social Media's Impact on Relationships) Consequently, social media has given a couple, several reasons to commence an argument over the pettiest of things. For example, liking pictures or retweeting something of the opposite sex has caused many types of arguments. “The survey's results indicated that individuals who had higher levels of Twitter use were more likely to have higher levels of relationship conflicts (Obsessive use of Twitter, Facebook may damage your relationship). Social networks have caused us to lose relationships with the people we love but also has made us victim to social network predators: “Given the vast array of Internet users and the lack of regulation on Internet use, users have the ability to become whoever they want online”. (Marcum et al. 9) Due to the amount of freedom individuals acquire online, they victimize individuals by talking to them and displaying interest in them. These types of people play games with users and victimize them. The term for this is catfishing, and after a while of interacting, the predator may ask to meet with them in person. In several cases, the predator never reveals who they truly are and continue to victimize the individual and to a certain extent the predator even evokes the individual to send money. Other times the victim finds a way of reaching the predator and are completely astonished to who they actually are. “The person they meet face-to-face is often less attractive, less successful, and less exciting than the individual that was depicted online.” (Marcum et al. 21) Regrettably, the people are consumed in this are so ‘in-love’ that they cannot devour the harsh reality. Unfortunately, social networking has made individuals lose personal ties due to lack of interest and warmth, couples have become suspicious towards one another and people have become victim to online predators who show false interest. Social networks have not only deteriorated personal relationships and friendships but have also deteriorated our mental health. “The survey found that 53% of participants said social media sites had changed their behavior, while 51% of these said the change had been negative”. (Whiteman) Social media causes others to compare themselves to other individuals which lead to negative emotions, and causes depression and low self-esteem. There are a few blogs, and social networking sites that promote health issues. For example, anorexia and bulimia where the website refers to itself as “Proanamia”, where the individuals promote being thin. “Studies have found concerning trends where even healthy individuals visiting these sites have lower self-esteem, perceived themselves as heavier, and engaged in more image comparison after browsing these groups”. (Myers et al. 18.) Social networking sites have another nature of bullying that is cyber bullying. This is where the attacker can access the victim any time of the day. “The emergence of cyber-bullying indicates that perpetrators have turned their attention to technology (including mobile telephones and the internet) as a powerful means of exerting their power and control over others”. (Cowie) Due to this, the victim often becomes lonely, depressed and has a low self-esteem. Often times, the victim will decide to take their own life due to the harsh treatments they have experienced. “Similarly, there have been several instances in which users have committed cyber-public suicides, publishing their suicide intent on Facebook and inviting comments (where online “friends” often encourage the person to continue with their plans) or even streaming their self-harm live for viewers”. (Myers et al. 18) Disastrously, individuals have the freedom to attack others via social networking, which can cause health issues or even suicide. Lastly, anxiety is also caused through social networking sites, we become anxious if we do not have our phones with us to check if the person we messaged earlier has messaged us back, or check the amounts of likes that have accumulated on our post. “We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face". (Howard) Even after communicating via social networking, the individual who already suffer from anxiety become more anxious when meeting with individual in person. Social networking has impacted our health tremendously, and unfortunately will continue to negatively impact our health. Finally, social networking impacts our academics, it is a distracting online feed and now we can access it whenever we want via through our phone, tablet, or computer. Which is unfortunate, due to social networks studies show that a student GPA is much lower than the non-user. “…found that heavy FB use (i.e., more time spent on FB) is observed among students with lower GPAs”. (Kirschner & Karpinsk). Social networking sites have implicated student throughout, it comes in use when we need help with an assignment, or need notes from a former class, or to observe what’s trending, regrettably we have become addicted to social media. We become antsy without it and with it our GPA drops. “…recent studies reveal that over-involvement or obsession with social networking by students can have negative impacts on academic performance”. (Jomon et al) Since social networking sites can be accessed anywhere, a student sitting in the class room on their computer, tablet or phone are bound to be tempted to check their online profile. “Even, during class sessions when all students are using computers for class-related tasks, many tend to be on Facebook instead of following along with the demonstration” (Jomon et al). By checking the online profile you distract yourself from what is going on in class and instead you pay additional attention to your news feed then to your professor who could be telling you what is on the exam. Social networking has not only hindered our ability to pay attention, but it has also caused us to procrastinate and complete our assignment the night before or hand them in late. “…the increased amount of time students are spending on OSN sites is having a negative impact on their out-of-class study time.” (Jomon et al.) Tactlessly, social networking impacts our studies greatly, and with it we have decreased our attention span by a milestone. Studies show that students who did not use a computer over the one that did, did significantly superior in the course. (May). To conclude, social networking sites may have had minor positives, but the increasingly negative outweighs them by a milestone. As a society we cannot stay away from our phones and when we put our phone out of reach or misplace it we become paranoid and will stop at nothing to find it. That is the unfortunate truth. Yes, it may be costly but in reality we need to constantly check our online profile for self-assurance to see that we are not missing anything that is trending or not missing an update about something important to one self. Emotional ties, our mental health and our education is just another victim of social networking and it will continue to hinder our ability to progress.
References: MLA format
Cowie, Helen. "The Psychiatric Bulletin." Cyberbullying and Its Impact on Young People's Emotional Health and Well-being. 31 Oct. 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://pb.rcpsych.org/content/37/5/167.full>. Dockterman, E. "Kim Stolz: How Social Media Is Ruining Our Relationships."Time. 24 June 2014. Web. 28 Nov. 2014. <http://time.com/2917916/kim-stolz-how-social-media-is-ruining-our-relationships/>. Fileta, D. "3 Ways Social Media Can Impact Your Real-Life Relationships." True Love Dates. 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 2014. <http://truelovedates.com/3-ways-social-media-can-impact-your-real-life-relationships/>. Gowen et al. "Young Adults with Mental Health Conditions and Social Networking Websites: Seeking Tools to Build Community." Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 35.3 (2012): 245-50. Print. Howard, J. "Facebook Addiction: New Scale Gauges Social Media Dependency." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 8 May 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/facebook-addiction-scale-social-media_n_1499738.html>. Jomon et al. "Effect of Online Social Networking on Student Academic Performance." Computers in Human Behavior28.6 (2012): 2117-127. ScienceDirect. Web. 30 Nov. 2014. <http://www.sciencedirect.com.proxy.bib.uottawa.ca/science/article/pii/S0747563212001665>. Kirschner, P. Karpinski A, . "Facebook® and Academic Performance." Computers in Human Behavior 26.6 (2010): 1237-245. Print.