Using the internet to socialise is an increasingly popular activity. Some of the most popular websites for this are Facebook, twitter, bebo, msn and many others. Social networking is when you speak to other people through the internet. Facebook is by far the most popular with over 500 million users and 250 million of them logging in everyday. Twitter is not far behind Facebook with over 177 million users. With social network sites you can keep in touch everyday and you can share your photos and news with hundreds of people. There are many advantages and disadvantages of socialising on the internet.
One reason why people use the internet to socialise is because it’s easy to meet people from all over the world who share the same interests. Social sites also allow you to create new relationships and reconnect with friends and family who you might not see a lot of. You can search for a friend that you’ve lost contact with and start speaking to them almost immediately. Programs like MSN let you chat with lots of people from all over the world at the same time. With Facebook you can use the chat box, mail or you can write on their wall to contact the other person.
Another advantage of social networking sites is that you can speak to your friends very easily. One example is that instead of meeting in a certain place, you and your friends could discuss it over the internet at the same time which can save you time and effort. People of different races can also get to know each other and mingle in just a few clicks which can help resolve racist issues. Sites like twitter are very easy to navigate and it’s more scalable than Facebook. Also a lot of celebrities use twitter to contact their fans and promote their image or products.
Another reason why social networking is an advantage is that it can give people the opportunity to create a positive self-image. It can give people the chance to create an image of themselves that they want people to see by putting their best qualities out there. This can help when it comes to getting a job when companies and employers check your profile on facebook or twitter to see what you are truly like. Social sites are also an advantage to companies. They can access you profile and see what kind of person you are. This can give them a better idea if you are the right person for the job.
However, although social sites have many advantages there are also a lot of dangers. One important danger is cyber bullying. People are being bullied from the safety of their own homes through sites like Facebook, twitter, msn and bebo. 39% of social network users have been bullied in some way. People can be bullied over these sites in various ways including receiving threatening messages, having an embarrassing picture posted without permission and having rumours spread about them. Cyber bullying, unlike bullying in general, can expose a victim to hundreds or even thousands through an email or profile.
Another disadvantage of social networking sites are that they can become very addicting. 233 million hours of work are lost each month in the UK due to staff using social networking sites. Many workplaces have now band their employees to use these sites. On average 48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed. With too many people staying in and socialising on the internet instead of going out and playing sports or doing healthy activities, it causes a lot of health issues. People will be starting to feel more comfortable talking to someone online and struggling to communicate with people in person.
Another reason why social networking sites can be a disadvantage is the possibility of a stranger stealing your identity or financial information. Strangers stealing your identity can give them access to private documents such as credit cards or bank details. Revealing your name and date of birth through these sites as well as pet names or nicknames is a gift to fraudsters as often people use nicknames or pentanes as passwords for private information. Online banking fraud has increased by 44%. It is estimated that identity fraud costs the UK £1.7 billion a year and is the fastest growing crime.
In conclusion, I think the internet is a great way to socialise with people from all over the world and communicate with lost family members and old friends but I think people should be a lot more careful when speaking to strangers. You should not give out any bank details or personal information through these sites and should be more aware of frauds and paedophiles. Although the internet is a great way to play games and meet new people, people need to be aware of the many dangers that social networking brings.