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The following argumentative essay is on whether the internet is changing our social lives or not. Internet has become an important component of every day operations and it is imperative to ensure that there is awareness about its influence and effects on people and human relationships.
This argument takes considers that internet has indeed affected the social lives of people all over the world. The first part of this essay presents instances where the internet has changed social lives positively or negatively. Internet has changed the social interactions of modern day world in a dynamic way and has improved the relations and friendships that were in existence and increased more contacts that are individual.
Is The Internet Changing Our Social Lives?
Internet has changed lives in that it has affected social relationships for bad or for good. The instance where it has improved relationships is through consistent communication through the social networks such as face book, MySpace and twitter.
However, internet has affected relationships and people negatively especially school children through the cyber bullying activities that happen on the internet. “There have been cases of cyber bullying where some individuals impersonate someone and use their profile and images to pose as someone else” (Anonymous 4).
When people see the image in the profile they believe it is the picture of the real person. This type of bullying has affected some of the children whose images have been used to bully others negatively. This has led to some of the parents developing interest in the intricacies of social networking by wanting to know how to deal with cybercrime as well as ensure that the cyber criminals who use the internet to bully others have been punished.
“The internet has affected people’s privacy as personal information can be accessed by friends through hacking into people’s social network accounts” (Anonymous 4). The internet privacy is critical in enhancing ones life and self-confidence. Infringing on people’s privacy has led to reduced self-esteem by sharing personal information with people who may use it against the individual.
Internet has changed social lives in undermining individual’s need for privacy. “Although the social media has features that guarantee users’ privacy there are many instances where friends share individual personal information” (Anonymous 4). Privacy over the internet is not guaranteed and any material posted over the internet should be intended for public exposure. Instances of people being hurt due to unnecessary exposure to the unintended audience have affected relationships and self esteem negatively.
For instance, people can use a person’s image to create a phony account to harass and commit crime over the internet. While the real person whose image is in use may be unaware of it, it will affect how other people perceive such a person as well as any physical relationships that such a person has. “It has also affected the relationships between parents and their children as parents have to be more vigilant on the way their children use the internet” (Anonymous 4).
This is because internet enables children to access malicious contents such as pornography and exposes children to prowling adults who predate children seeking ways of exploiting them. Parents are enrolling in social media courses where they are taught how to monitor their children’s use of the internet. “Some parents have even installed spyware software on their family computers to monitor their children’s use of the internet” (Anonymous 4).
The internet especially the social media has also affected lives of people by giving them a sense of belonging. “This sense of belonging comes through the communities offered through the internet, where people can express themselves, assert their values, and influence agendas of those communities” (Orenstei 3).
The internet has therefore become a way of building self-esteem, engaging in activities that have influence on the individual. The internet forums provided by twitter have created families and social groups. People nowadays twit about the country, their favorite shop, their car and any issue, which they feel is affecting them. In fact, twitter to some people has become part of their daily activity and they cannot afford to spend a day without twitting. This shows that the internet is a major component of social existence.
The internet has also changed lives in the sense that people can nowadays interrelate with others who are in different places and countries and consider them as friends. “It is interesting that internet websites such as Face book and MySpace provide opportunities where people can meet new people and faces and interact with them as if they have met them before (Orenstei 2).”
This shows that the internet has changed the social sphere by increasing the acceptance of people who are at different places. The internet has improved social networks by creating forums where people with similar interests can interconnect and discuss ideas (Dunbar 2).
Such forums are usually medical forums where people who suffer from certain ailments can discuss different therapies that they undertake and their methods of coping with those ailments. On the negative side, there are social networks or groups that interlink criminals and act as a forum where people can engage in crime as well as brainstorm ideas on how to commit criminal activities.
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The other factor of the internet is that the social networks interlinks professionals and people who have similar career background to keep themselves abreast with the changes that may be happening in their industry. LinkedIn has specialized in networking professionals in similar fields. They can even brainstorm on how to handle such changes.
The internet has brought another interesting concept of being alone but not lonely. In the modern world most of the people spend time on their personal computers working on projects or doing some of their work on computers.
To feel interconnected with the rest of the world even when one is alone, the social network enables the individuals to talk and chat with other people as if they are together. “The internet has brought togetherness of people who are apart yet they are close” (Dunbar 3). This has enhanced relationships that would otherwise end if the individuals were not in constant communication.
The internet has increased interconnectedness of people by ensuring that they develop new friends and relationships through the internet. “The internet has affected the social lives of individuals negatively by having many people maximize the time that they spend on the internet rather than on real life relationships” (Dunbar 3). This has led to the deterioration of the relationships as people rarely have real life relationships.
Others have argued that even though the internet interconnects with many people all over the world the relationships are not affected. People can only interrelate with at most one hundred and fifty persons who are within the social circles of an individual. This implies that even if people develop new relationships on the internet they loose the previous physical relationships that they had developed previously. “Out of the one hundred and fifty close friends that people interrelate with some are relatives who are not online” (Dunbar 4).
Therefore, in reality the social networks do not allow one to get more than one hundred and fifty people. If one increased friends on the social networks, it implies that he/she has to lose close friends who are not on the internet as well as relationships.
The other aspect of critical importance is that having internet-based relationships alienates one from real and tangible relationships, which are critical to human existence. “The social relationships contribute to the development of the individual’s social life” (Dunbar 4). Internet relationships cannot in anyway provide social support in matters that require emotional contact, closeness or financial support, which is what real relationships provide.
While the companies that have allowed people to interrelate through the internet have made millions of money, it is likely that they are going to make even more money as more people access the internet and work using computers. The social networks are not only available using computer but also through cell phones making internet an important aspect of daily living.
The social media and the internet in general have influenced relationships and interactions of people by determining whom they interact with and how they interact. Most importantly, people have to be aware of how to use it to enhance social relationships rather than destroy relationships.
Anonymous. As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up. May. 2012.Web.
Anonymous. MySpace, Face book and Other Social Networking Sites: Hot Today, Gone Tomorrow? September. 2011. Web.
Dunbar, Robin. You’ve Got to Have (150) Friends. October. 2010. Web.
Orenstei, Peggy. I Tweet, Therefore I Am. August. 2010. Web.