The social networks broke into the everyday life of the majority of common people in the middle of 00s, first giving neglectful and suspicious attitude, as a tracking instrument of the government. Nevertheless, shortly, almost every individual including teenagers and elderly people, created a page on some kind of social media platform. Today it is hard to find anyone who does not have an account on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, or another local network.
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People post news, share impressions and pictures, follow their friends’ activity and the activity of the people they are interested in. The whole world seems to become broader, but at the same time closer, as you can track your best friend who moved to another part of the country a long time ago. However, these new opportunities also bear a certain amount of dangers. People get addicted, lose contact with reality, and unthoughtfully provide strangers with important details of their personal life.
Let us start with the advantages. Advocates claim that social media provide a connection with people, allow you to stay in touch even if you are far away from each other. That is a good point. The friend is always in the background, you might not have conversations often, but if he or she updates his or her status frequently enough, you might have an idea what is going on in his or her life.
Social networks carefully remind you of friend’s birthday or other important events of his or her life, and you do not have to keep this information in your mind. There is almost no risk to miss it. The dark side of this statement is that you lose a skill of conversation, because you do not have to ask questions. Your friend posts, you tap “Like” – everyone is happy.
You do not have to write long letters, choosing the most correct words; do not have to consider what questions to ask to find out more about the friend. Your interaction becomes kind of robotic. You start to expect post’s approval from your friend, and if there is no “Like” in response, you get upset and start developing prejudgments towards him or her. However, the friend might be far away or just have not noticed your post. A friend might be not involved in social networking that much. However, the networking has its own laws.
The second advantage claimed by advocates is that people are getting more informed, as they follow the sources with the most recent and reliable news, they choose. According to people’s point of view, of course. A person starts following a source that seems trustworthy, and thus, providing the source with the connection to own emotions, the ability to generate an own opinion.
As the information is updated constantly, and the individual consumes it regularly, the interaction starts to gain hypnotic features, and if the source is professional, it certainly knows how to make you think the way it wants.
Following celebrities and popular persons also has a negative side, as they tend to post some minor things from their everyday life. By paying too much attention to those posts, an individual starts to lose such minor things in his own life, wasting time on the activity of the person he or she will never see or will never have a chance of a personal talk.
Despite certain advantages, there are several serious dangers hidden within spreading and vast application of social networks. First, making their life look exciting and interesting, people post too much important personal information online, making it available to the vast majority of absolute strangers or envious and malevolent persons. These posts might evoke envy and anger. You never know what is going on in strangers’ head, and they already know where you live, what your parents look like and how many kids you have.
Stalking and cyberbullying are not a pleasant thing to deal with as well. Second, many people get addicted, and this addiction is similar to drug or alcohol dependence. Just compare – angriness, frustration, losing focus on real-life issues, bad temper, relationship problems, abandoning hobbies and usual interests, depression if the desired substance is beyond the reach (Robinson, Smith, and Saisan par. 8).
Does not it remind the symptoms of the frequent social media network user if the one cannot get online? Actually, there are certain official criteria for measuring internet addiction. They are the preoccupation with social networks, increasing an amount of on-line time to get satisfaction, staying online longer than planned, lying about the time spent online (Young 21).
Moreover, the National Poll states that 22% of teens check social networking sites more than ten times a day and 28% have shared personal information that they normally wouldn’t have shared in public (“Common Sense” par. 2).
As concluded on the basics of many researches, extracting “information from friends’ pages appears particularly pleasurable” and “may be linked to the activation of the appetitive system, which indicates that engaging in this particular activity may stimulate the neurological pathways known to be related to addiction experience” (Kuss and Griffiths 3532). Sounds frightening. Third, people are simply losing time they could spend on some useful activity.
Nowadays the enormous number of entertainment websites generates content that is widely spread all over the network. Users share funny pictures, quotes of famous people (frequently assigned to wrong authors), top 10 lists of the most stupid celebrities and the best places to visit from 4 p.m. till 8 p.m. The majority of this information does not even make sense, but people continue to repost it filling the online space with garbage content that takes your time as you are trying to get something important digging your way through.
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The concept of friendship also shifts as people get closer to someone they have never met offline and lose their connection with offline friends. Friendship gains some new attributes and loses the old ones. People are starting to get too serious if their post was not approved, liked, or read by someone they consider as friends. People would rather provide some personal information to a complete stranger, who looks reliable online, than talk to a friend over the cup of coffee.
Thus, this behavioral pattern is more typical if the person has a lack of communication and understanding in real life (Mesch and Talmud 41). There is no correct answer if this way of acting is good or bad for the individual, but the access to online communication may cause losing individual’s ability of successful offline communication at all.
Social networks both have their advantages and disadvantages. The thoughtful application can provide people with important information. Inaccurate use may cause serious psychological, social and even criminal problems that might affect not only you but also your friends and your family members.
Common Sense: Is Social Networking Changing Childhood? 2009. Web.
Kuss, Daria J., and Mark D. Griffiths. “Online social networking and addiction—anreview of the psychological literature.” International journal of environmental research and public health 8.9 (2011): 3528-3552. Print.
Mesch, Gustavo S., and Ilan Talmud. “Online friendship formation, communication channels, and social closeness.” International Journal of Internet Science 1.1 (2006): 29-44. Print.
Young, Kimberly S. “Internet addiction: symptoms, evaluation and treatment.” Innovations in clinical practice: A source book 17.1 (1999): 19-31. Print.