Since 2003, social networking sites have been on the rise with populations rapidly expanding each day. Common interest sites especially, have been capturing the interest and attention of preteens and teens in America (Gilliam). Society’s way of life has completely changed from what it was only five years ago. Now, there is a dramatic decrease in face-to-face communication, which reduces our generation’s ability to interact with others on a speaking level. All social networking sites are initiated by creating a profile stating one’s personal information as well as hobbies and work history, past and present, as well as photographs. Social networking sites are regularly misused, and can be harmful to one’s reputation. Not only are these sites a distraction to employees, but they are a potential risk factor for prospective employers, and could potentially lead to the loss of one’s job.
This is very important for teachers to consider, since they are role models in the community and are always being watched. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking sites are an open invitation to future employers to discriminate against you without your knowledge. These sites can hinder your professionalism. Lawyers have even entered the “social networking world” for legal purposes. They print and document photos that could potentially influence a judge’s decision in a current trial. Therefore, social media causes lack of privacy, health problems and addiction. People who use social media can have lack of privacy. You are putting out information about your name, location, age, gender, and many other types of information that you may not want to let others know. Most people would say be careful, but no one can be certain at any given time.
Individuals are at risk of being attacked by online predators. It is crucial people are aware of internet safety precautions. As long as people can know who you exactly are, then some can find ways to do you in. There is a potential for failure of security in both personal and business contexts. While many sites apply certain measures to keep any of these cases of harassment, cyber-stalking, online scams, and identity theft to an absolute minimum, you still may never know. Certain sites can be utilized by hackers to introduce viruses in various ways, or by scammers to con unsuspecting victims. Social networking make victims feel safe as they believe themselves to be surrounded by friends, making it easier for them to fall prey to such online threats. For example, going on Facebook talking to people you never even met and thinking their friends when that person could be a fake that is stalking you. You never know who is behind that page or lying about information. Once you post a status or a blog the news travels fast.
Stories will get misinterpreted and you can always delete it but it was already viral. The most common disadvantage of social networking sites is addiction. The addictive nature of social media leads to eating disorders, obesity, heart problems, sleep disorders, and other pertinent health issues (Jhabua). Often users of these sites get addicted to it. They spend hours using these sites and it harms their performance in other fields. The social networks are making you lazy too. You will spend too much time on reading blogs and writing statuses. However, in this time you could have gone to a public place or something else to meet your friends. Also, your grades at school may get worse because you spend your time for studying on browsing through the World Wide Web searching for new pieces of information or things to share with your friends. Addiction is obviously not good, but if you are careful and still use your free time spending with your friends and books for school, everything is alright.
Additionally, constant exposure to the internet because of social networking addiction prevents a child or teen from engaging in physical activities and socialization. They become so dependent on it that they start to think making contact with other people outside the social network is not necessary. As such, they become socially and physically stagnant (Jhabua). There is an extensive range of mental and health problems known to be associated with spending too much time on social media. In addition to reducing productivity, creating distractions and increasing burnouts, they can cause some serious medical issues. Excessive time spent on social networks causes some individuals to experience withdrawal symptoms. They retreat from actual interaction with fellow humans and assume a virtual persona. Common signs are anxiety, distress, boredom and loneliness, much the same as a typical addiction of course!
A study ‘24 hours: Unplugged’ conducted by the University of Maryland led to the conclusion that majority of students are “incredibly addicted to social media”. Regular recreational or social activities take a back seat when social networking is the prime agenda. Face to face interaction and socializing becomes something of a burden to an “addict”. In extreme cases interactions with close friends and family also stops and is substituted by virtual communication. Much furor was created about this very aspect due to a paper published by Dr. Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, where he mentions that “a lack of face-to-face networking could alter the way genes work, upset immune responses, hormone levels, the function of arteries, and influence mental performance.” The lack of social interaction could result in people suffering from more stress related diseases and disorders than before.
Dr. Aric Sigman in his paper points out the link between reduced human interaction time and problems like suffering a stroke, blood pressure, colds, dementia and cognitive problems. Social media has brought to the world a common medium for thoughts, words and expression. However its correct and efficient usage is completely dependent on how it is managed. Being aware of the risks and vulnerabilities that we are exposed to through these media only empowers further to use them in a positive way. It is up to us to make sure that social networking does not turn into social dysfunction.
Wise people never provide personal information to strangers. Despite these measures of precaution, use of these sites is a gateway to a lack of privacy, health problems and false addiction. Being exposed to this power of media at a young age could produce harmful, long term effects on teens. The negative effects of social networking sites by far outweigh the positives. With that being said, social networking sites are not a productive or appropriate way for people to be spending their time. A doctor can operate with a knife and a murderer can kill a person with the same knife. You make a choice!
Jhabua, K V Gail. “Disadvantages from Social Networking on Students:” Impact of Social Networking Sites. Web. 1 Nov. 2014. Gilliam, Natalie. “The Potential Dangers of Social Networking.” The Potential Dangers of Social Networking. 30 Mar. 2011. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.