Whenever social networks are mentioned most people think of social interaction and relationships. Indeed these sites have played a foreground role in facilitating social interaction and relationship between various people around the world.
The sites enabled people to communicate, share ideas, and provide opportunities for learning. Moreover, assessment of social network sites has mainly focused on the positive sides. However, the negative effects of social network sites have been ignored. This study will therefore look at the negative effects of social network sites.
The effects of social network sites have been discussed in various contexts. Moreover, the implications of the effects are also known by most people in the community. Social isolation is one of the serious effects of social networking sites.
Isolation has not only been associated with suicide, but also with other social problems such as mental illnesses, poor development of cognitive skills among the youths, and poor physical health. In this regard, the negative effects of social networking sites should not be trivialized since they can lead to loss of life (Masuda, Kurahashi and Onari 4).
Suicide especially among the youths in the contemporary society has become a serious issue due to the increasing rates of deaths. Individuals who are addicted to social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter have a lower tendency of interacting and associating with others in the physical world.
Interaction with other people in the physical world such as peers and members of the family is important since individuals get the opportunity to share their problems. This also enables individuals to be identified with various social groupings in the society (Elphinston & Noler 4).
Social isolation may create a negative perception where the isolated individuals tend to perceive themselves as social outcasts. Individuals in such situations face numerous difficulties in overcoming isolation. Therefore, inability to overcome separation from other members of various social groups may affect one’s mental condition and wellbeing.
Social behavior greatly determines how people respond to such situations. For example, lack of association and identification with particular social groups can easily cause depression, hence increasing the tendency to commit suicide (Wolniczak et al. 6). On the other hand, individuals who interact freely with other people can easily identify various issues affecting them (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 3).
Another effect of social networking sites is intrusion among the users, which consequently affect relationships between various people in the society. Facebook intrusion has become one of the common problems of social networking sites. It is associated with other problems such as distress, loss of trust between spouses, and loss of interest in social issues.
Victims of Facebook intrusion may have difficulties in maintaining a healthy relationship due to lack of attention and satisfaction between the spouses (Elphinston & Noler 4). The situation may also lead to uncontrollable jealousy between individuals involved in a relationship. Facebook addiction causes relationship threats among the spouses. Threatened relationships are prone to insecurity and breakups (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 3).
Spouses using Facebook are able to interact with other individuals who may be interested in them. The information shared between the spouses and other third parties may be perceived as threats to the relationship. In some cases, one of the partners may decide to hide the shared information for fear of conflicts.
This may cause more threats since the partners may be forced to monitor or spy on each other. Intrusion results in extra vigilance and surveillance behaviors between the spouses (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 7). Consequently, mistrust may develop among spouses, hence leading to more relationship problems.
Lack of trust between the spouses is the most dangerous issue in relationships that subsequently leads to breakups and more social problems to the individuals. After breaking from relationships some individuals become distressed and may become isolated from other social groups. In other cases individuals may withdraw from social network sites to avoid getting into more relationship problems (Elphinston & Noler 4).
Social networking sites have also been associated with dependence and lack of adequate sleep. Excessive use of Facebook due to addiction affects the quality of sleep and may lead to various health complications. Excessive use interferes with sleep patterns of the victims.
Addiction to these sites may disrupt the normal sleeping schedule since many people tend to spend most of their time on the internet compared to the time allocated for sleeping. It therefore interferes with the sleep and wake up schedule of various individuals. Individuals tend to sleep very late and wake up very early due to internet addiction. However, this issue may affect individuals in the society regardless of age and gender.
Lack of adequate sleep among the working adults has been associated with low productivity and other physical health problems such as fatigue. Moreover, employees who have become addicted to the internet tend to waste a lot of time in social network sites (Elphinston & Noler 4).
Lack of sleep among students is the major cause of poor concentration in class and poor academic performance. In some cases students are likely to develop mood complications and the mental health. Some students may also become rebellious towards the learning process.
Sleeping problems not only affect academic performance and productivity but also interfere with public safety due to possible cause of accidents. Specific health problems associated with lack of adequate sleep include heart failure, diabetes, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and stroke. Lack of sleep may also interfere with the normal metabolic processes, hence disrupting the regular body processes. Inadequate sleep among adults also reduces the level of sex drive.
This therefore contradicts the general argument that social network sites boots one’s sexual morale due to the ability to gain information on sex issues. Lack of sex drive has been associated with relationship problems among spouses. For instance, men who lack adequate sleep are likely to develop low sex drive compared to the women (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 4).
Excessive use of social networking sites may also lead to brain disorders and personality problems. Individuals who overuse Facebook are likely to develop problems such as shyness and communication difficulties. Inability to hold a good conversation with other people is associated with overdependence on social networking sites. For instance, most people who overuse Facebook are likely to develop communication problems due to lack of physical contact with other members of the society (Elphinston & Noler 4).
Unlike communication in the virtual world that does not require physical contact between the parties involved in a communication, communication in the physical space requires personal contact and other elements such as eye contact, verbal symbols, and good listening skills (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 5). Excessive users of social networking sites lack these communication tools and therefore cannot
In some cases individuals who overuse Facebook develop timidity and communication problems. It becomes difficult for such individuals to achieve physical interaction with other people due to poor communication skills and fear of negative perception towards their situation.
Most shy people suffer from perceived discrimination from other people. The individuals develop a feeling of disconnect. Consequently, such people are likely to suffer from other social problems such as low self-esteem, depression, and eating disorders (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 4).
Separation from other members of the society also leads to the formation of hate groups in the community. The groups may take advantage of social networking sites to spread information, which may lead to racial, religious, and tribal discrimination (Wolniczak et al. 6).
People who feel discriminated from the physical world tend to create groups in the social network sites (Ayas 633). Such groups are formed with the main objective of discriminating others in the society. The groups may also be used to spread false information, which may cause conflicts (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 6). Social networking sites have also been associated with lack of privacy and security issues (Ayas 633).
It is very easy for individuals using Facebook to lose private information due to the unauthorized intrusion of other individuals. Social networking sites lack appropriate tools for ensuring security of the users (Ayas 632). This therefore raises the level of insecurity in social networking sites. Criminals have also turned to social networking sites to conduct criminal activities such as cyber bullying, identity theft and fraud. They also recruit youths and vulnerable children to criminal activities (Wolniczak et al. 8).
However, in a refutation stance on the topic, it is cardinal to note that social networking sites have numerous benefits to the society (Elphinston & Noler 4).
The sites have been used by companies and groups to spread information about products and services and increase the level of sales. Social networking sites also enable students to improve their performance at school by interacting with others and sharing information. Governments also use social networking sites to mobilize participation in political and social activities such as voter education and participation in election processes (Elphinston & Noler 4).
The sites are therefore important in influencing social and political change in the society. Social networking sites have also been used by individuals to seek employment (Wolniczak et al. 4). Most companies post their job adverts on the sites due to the low cost of advertisement and the ability to attract more candidates for the interview. In light of these advantages, it is therefore important to control the use of social networking sites since their disadvantages tend to outnumber the advantages (Ayas 632).
Usage of social media has been associated with more problems compared to the benefits. It is important to control the usage of social networking sites among individuals in the society to eliminate the problems (Wolniczak et al. 6). Therefore, appropriate policies or regulations that can be used to control the usage of social networking sites should be adopted to protect the members of the society from the negative effects associated with the sites (Masuda, Kurahashi & Onari 6).
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Masuda, Naoki, Issei Kurahashi and Hiroko Onari. “Suicide Ideation of Individuals in Online Social Networks”. PLoS ONE 8.4 (2013): 1-8. Print.
Wolniczak, Isabella, Jose A. Caceres-DelAguila, Gabriela Palma-Ardiles, Karen J. Arroyo, Rodrigo Solıs-Visscher, Stephania Paredes-Yauri, Karina Mego-Aquije and Antonio Bernabe-Ortiz. “Association between Facebook and Dependence and Poor Sleep Quality: A study in a Sample of Undergraduate Students in Peru”. PLoS ONE 8.3 (2013): 1-7. Print.