Effects of Social Networking Sites Essay
Effects of Social Networking Sites
The implementation of social networking sites has changed how the average person communicates with others. Studies show that the average person spends at least nine hours a week surfing and posting on social network sites (http://socialnetworking.procon.org/). In fact, using social networking sites has not only improved our communication skills, but has had a negative impact as well.
One of the many pros and cons to communicating on a networking site is the ability to “stay connected.” When a student graduates, a loved one moves, or a career changes, everyone wants to keep up with people they have grown to care for. Being on a social networking site, you can “friend request” people you know to keep up with their day to day actions. This ensures we don’t miss out on parts of someone’s life where we want to be included. Increasing the communication you have with someone, even online, strengthens your relationship. Unfortunately, being able to “stay connected” has kept thousands connected in a less than personal way. Networking sites entice people to stay online and spend less face-to-face time with others. So, you may be connecting to friends and family, but you are being distracted by the time wasting activities and applications the site supplies. Your mother doesn’t really care if you reached level ten in the Adventures of Indiana Jones on Facebook. She wants to know how you are doing in your classes at school.
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Another way networking sites are affecting society is evident in the ability to find new people. Making new friends can be a wonderful thing. Consider the following scenario, you are interested in a certain musician and find their “page” on your networking site. On that same page are many others that have that common interest. Befriending these new people provides a new outlet for expression. A family member or friend may not like the same artist, but finding this new friend gives the ability to have someone to talk to about the subject. On the other hand, not all people surfing these sites that are looking for new friends are doing it for the right reasons.
Artists and topics that attract a younger population give ample opportunity for predators to have access to the viewers. There is no way to know that the 15 year old girl you’ve become “besties” with is really a young girl, or if it’s really a pedophile looking for new prey. “In Feb. 2009, MySpace identified 90,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the site, while Facebook declined to reveal how many were present on its site” (http://socialnetworking.procon.org/).
Another example of how social networks affect society both positively and negatively is the ability to obtain information. Many networking sites created today are made for specific genres of people. Sites like LinkedIn.com and CafeMom.com have been created to help people with life issues such as finding new jobs or getting tips on breastfed babies. If a person is shy and has trouble meeting that “special someone,” they can go to a networking site such as MeetUp.com. Sadly, not everything that is posted on these sites can be verified.
Most sites, like the match-making sites, have no way to verify that the person posting on their site is them. An older, obese person can post a picture of a younger, thinner person to try and get a match. The site itself does not know that the picture posted is actually the person posting it. So, when the “date” shows up expecting person A, they are angry or upset that they meet person B, the real person, and bullying, fighting, or worse occurs. Too much false information is passed along the internet, and a large percent of it is done via networking sites.
Overall, social networking sites can’t wholly be praised or put down for being “bad.” Being able to stay connected, make new friends, and get information via these sites has its pros and cons. No matter what changes are made, there will always be those that say the sites are good for our society, and those that say the dangers outweigh the benefits.
Are social networking sites good for our society? (2012). Retrieved from http://socialnetworking.procon.org/
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