Free The Negative Effects Of Social Media On Society Essay Sample
Human beings are the ultimate communicators. The basis of civilization is derived from the communications between different peoples trying to live in one location. People and community could never have existed without the ability to communicate via language and many emotional and behavioral signals. As civilizations began to grow, people began to spread farther and farther apart upon a continent and later across the oceans. However, travel was lengthy and often dangerous, which led to the writing of letters. At the time the postal service was an innovation, but it was not particularly expeditious. People could wait months to hear news from loved ones and friends from afar. The telegraph change the speed at which messages could be sent over long distances, the nature of such messages was rather brief and impersonal. The telephone changed everything for many, many years and in many ways is still a major player in day-to-day communication; accept today the phone is mobile. The travel, via planes and automobiles, became more convenient people continued to pursue ways to improve and perpetuate new means to communicate with others. With the origins of the internet the potential of communication became a matter of instantaneous, digitized information. The more advanced and provocative online interactions had become. Social media is probably the most successful innovations of the online era, which of course includes sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There are very few people in the modern world who do not have an account with one of the major social media platforms, where they spend a great deal of time posting pictures, often of themselves, and commenting on the posts and pictures of others. Hardcore supporters of social media see it as a significant social tool that has and will continue to benefit societies and individuals all over the globe. However, not everyone witnessing the social media phenomena feels that the influences of the social media era may be far more negative aspects that are not being acknowledged or addressed (ProCon Organization, 2015). While social media had the potential to be a positive social tool, the overall reality is that it has, in fact, had more negative effects than positives. Social media is damaging to communication and is affecting society as whole, young and old, is many ways that effect how we see others, how we feel, our psychology, our perception of the world in ways that is not at all conducive with positive social interactions.
The first social media site, “SixDegrees.com,” came online in 1997. This site was much simpler than what many are familiar with today, but it did allow people to create personal accounts and communicate with friends. In 2002, “Friendster,” debuted and quickly helped develop the popularity of social media in the United States. However, a year later, “MySpace,” came online and social media instantly became the most popular way to communicate, with friends, family and strangers alike. Today more than billions people login into their Facebook and Instagram accounts and review and interact with their social media, at least, once a day. To put that into a wider perspective, approximately, 75% of Americans are using Facebook, they additionally spread out their online time between other social networking sites, like LinkedIn and Twitter, the latest statistics show that more than 500 million “tweets” are sent every day (ProCon Organization. 2015). For many people that number of visits is much higher, especially with the development of applications that one can add to mobile devices, the social media engages their attention nearly 24 hours a day.
At first glance given the massive numbers of people all over the world who participate in one form of social media or another, it would seem to have positive attributes, yet, more and more every day we see how social media becomes a negative influence or a tool that can harm others, we see levels of fixation that borders on addiction and a the losses of so many of the key factors of communication that makes us human and abbreviates human interactions to shortened words and quick clicks (Turgeon, 2011). It is not surprising that there are mixed impressions of the realm of social media, those that think of it as modern necessity and convenience, while others see it as an innovation that raises red flags for many reasons. There are now a number of immediate, long-term and unforeseen consequences that need to be taken seriously.
Again, social media was invented not solely because its potential as a money making endeavor, but because it represented a brand new and inspiring innovation in how people could communicate it soared. Humanity and all of its differing cultures, religions, ideologies and traditions, separated by continents and oceans, is becoming more and more globalized (Georgia College and State University, 2012). People from all walks of life can interact with others who are like-minded or those who are antithetical to your views. There is a potential for positivity from social media, like making people more aware of public issues and social issues, but, unfortunately, the endorsement of social media, also, comes with a great deal negative impacts on modern society that are not addressed often enough. Pretending that these issues do not exist or are not deserving of reflection, consideration and, if necessary, reforms then society, in a way, is being fooled. While for some people social media entertains, encourages health online debates, endorses diversity, tightens the bonds of friendship, especially long distance, and encourages social media as a benevolent online community that “brings” people together in ways and frequency that is more beneficial than all past forms of interpersonal communications, including face-to-face socializing (Jung, 2015). The side-effects are beginning to outweigh the positives, understanding that is best approached by discussing each element individually.
Social Media & Interpersonal Communication:
Words do have power. Today, in the social media age, the less words the better. We abbreviate all of our term and narrate our actions, like “l.o.l” or “laugh out loud.” The emotion, attitude and sincerity of commentary cannot be discerned and lacks any depth necessary for real human connection and, therefore, communication. Human beings are creatures of great potential, but still gain a great deal of their information about people from nonverbal cues, expressions and general intuition. Online those aspects are completely eliminated. One cannot tell if someone is kidding, being sincere, or outright nasty (Farrugia, 2013).They cannot make judgment calls on people’s honesty and intentions. Without reform social media may ruin human beings ability to socialize properly.
Social Media & Redefining the Word “Friend:”
There was a time when the word “friend” was a very significant title. A friend was someone that you loved like family, perhaps even more. A friend was someone who would probably lay down their life for you and you would do vice versa if the roles were reversed. That sense of deep emotion and camaraderie cannot be duplicated in an online environment and therefore changed the way people understand the term friend (ProCon Organization, 2015). A true friend is someone who was as near, dear, and precious as family. These were people who one has deep and personal connection and emotions for, however, today, that is no longer the case. People befriend mere acquaintances or anyone who consistently “likes” the thing they post and the views they share. This diminishes and redefines the term “friend” for the worst. Yet, everyday people continue to “friend” other people, who they may have never met and know very little about.
Social Media & the Endorsement of Diversity:
It may be true that social media has created an opportunity for diverse peoples to speak, interacted and become friends in ways that had never been possible before. While social may market itself as an endorser of diversity that is, in fact, not the reality of those who are using it. People are drawn to and gravitate toward those they have the most in common with. People who share their likes and dislikes and consecutively supports them are those that people are more inclined to add to their friends less (Pilieci, 2012).When confronted with people who have differing views it is more likely that those who disagree would be ostracized or deleted from the “friends list. People are becoming less tolerant and less patient with others each and every day, as surely as interactions and statements get shorter. This does not encourage diversity at all, in fact it is endorsing cliques or pack mentalities.
Social Media & Antisocial Behavior:
Many modern experts feel that there are a number of psychological ramifications that society needs to be more educated about when it comes to social media. For example, it is now proven that extroverted people only become more social in social media environments, however, people who are introverts, may only become more anti-social, a reality will be detrimental to them in the future (Turgeon, 2011). Anti-social behaviors are not healthy, and the more that a person spends being isolated the harder and harder it will be for these individuals to assimilate at a later point in their lives. As with the diversity issue, social media was intended to broaden people’s social horizons, in many cases, it is actually making it smaller. Again, people on social media are generally only interested in conversing, messaging and interacting with those who share their views, never being forced to experience the value of opposing views.
Social Media & a Break with Reality:
When we are out in public places it is hard not to notice that the majority of people you pass are engaged with their phones, Ipads, or laptops, staring down, often completely oblivious to what is going on in the world around them. Seeing a party of 6 sitting down to a nice dinner out and not a one is conversing with another, they are all interacting with social media. So many people are becoming more and more detached from the world around them. People seem to be more concerned with their online lives than they are with what goes on in the real world. They are less interested with group outings, but staying and interacting solely through cyberspace and they are becoming more and more comfortable with limiting any and all socialization , face-to-face with others (Pilieci. 2012).There is, also, a disconnect with what the real world is like, when it comes to career planning. There are many teenagers , as we speak, who think that they will not need a regular job because they will make a living being famous online for no real or actual marketable reason. Too much social media is clearly leading to some seriously warped perspective on reality.
Social Media & the “Millennials:”
It is not just adults that are easily swept up in the social media phenomena. Children are, also, highly susceptible to the influence of social media. In fact, the children who have been born to this technological era are adapting to that technology as commonplace; they are not tools to be used when needed, but are necessities of life. Children, teens and young adults are interconnected with social media to the point that it is a way of life, so to speak; these are the “Millennials.” While these Millennials are far more tech-savvy as previous generations, the social media influence is not necessarily a good thing. Millennials are entitled, impatient and, in many cases, downright narcissistic; we see this in the phenomena of “selfies,” the taking and posting of a plethora of pictures of oneself for online attention and, ideally, validation. They are accustomed to the immediate responses provided by technology, they place a sincere value on their online personas and have a limited respect for the “real world” (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011). How many people have been confronted with a teen who says that when they grow up they want to be famous. They do not want to be famous because they are performers, musicians or artists, but just rich and famous just for being their “fabulous selves.” This is a serious problem that will have a genuine impact on the next generation’s ability to be the arbiters of society in the future.
Social Media & Cyberbullying:
Most people remember having a bully at some point in their lives, some more serious than others. However, cyberbullying is not the same as the traditional “schoolyard bullying” that many are familiar with. Children, teens and adults are becoming victims of cyberbullying consistently, every single day. People misuse social media to disparage, insult, and attack those who they do not like; they will criticize their photographs, make jokes about likes and dislikes, and generally involves a lot of name calling. However, unlike bullying while at school or at work, the victims of cyberbullying cannot escape the torment. It follows them wherever social media goes and once something is one the internet it is forever and it can always come back to haunt them (Jung, 2015).Cyberbullying is no laughing matter. In many cases, cyberbullies have encouraged their victims to kill themselves and the victims have attempted and succeeded in doing exactly that.
Social Media & the Ignorance of Threats:
The realm of social media, like any site found on the internet, is one of anonymity. Sites that seem legitimate are not always and people are not always who they claim to be. Lots of people alter their pictures or use pictures of different people entirely and some may pad their personal information to make themselves more attractive. In the severest cases, the people that members of social media sites often “friend” and share personal information with who could, in fact, be a criminal or a predator. Social media can let other users know when you aren’t home, when and where one works and the places that the frequently visit regular. Identity thieves can take advantage of such information and destroy their victim’s financial existence. However, the worst mistake that anyone on social media can make is giving too much information and access to their lives all too available to predators. All too often pedophiles, grown men, pretend to be young boys or teenage girls in order to lure in victims (ProCon Organization, 2015). That said, there is a profound risk of saying too much on a social media site, where one cannot be sure if everyone privy to that information are true friends.
The technology of the modern era is not going to go away, in fact, technology will, most likely, continue to play an ever-continuous role in the day-to-day lives of society. That said, given all of the issues that surround the modern social dependence of social media, there is a serious and immediate need to contribute an effort in changing the negative behaviors, deterring more negative influence and limiting the bulk of the threats present in the social media setting. Issues like cyberbullying have gotten more and more attention because its prevalence continues to rise. There needs to be more discussion in schools, and at home about the consequences of things that are said online. Not having to face the people they are bullying can make bullying them a lot easier (Jung, 2015).Some experts have a very grim vision of the future of humanity and societies across the globe. As more and more of humanities day-to-day actions, like shopping and attending school can be done online, there are less and less opportunities available where actual face-to-face communication is needed. The “Millennials,” as mentioned, are the very likely to be the most profoundly and negatively impacted by all of these negative aspects. The less and less real socialization that young people have as they mature the less successful their adult relationship are likely to be. The narcissistic and self-involved nature of many entitled “Millennials” find that when they enter the “real world” job marker, they are finding it hard to find employers who want to pay them oodles of money, not for their skills, but just because they are special and have a gazillion pictures, posts, friends and followers and fans that make them beloved online but not in the real world. There needs to be greater study and investigation of the past, present and future negative impacts of social media and take them seriously (Brown, 2013).
For generations, thinkers, philosophers and creative writers have worked to warn and endorse caution in just how much attachment and dependence that society has on technology, and social media is no different. Science fiction writers have for years used technology as the cause for the loss of humanities heart, soul and societal control. We see the hints of that already. We see a generation of far less compassionate individuals who can be incredibly heartless, even soulless, in their attacks on those they do not agree with or like. Fortunately, there is hope, if people are willing to make the necessary efforts to change and pass that change onto the next generations. In fairness not everyone who uses social media is out to harm others, misuse, or abuse the platform to cause harm or hurt to anyone. Unfortunately, however, those that do, are setting precedents in recognizing what is wrong with the current social media environments. Fixing problematic flaws in the social media of today, does not mean that it cannot be improved or cannot be evolved over time. Education and more abundant discussion with children, starting as soon as possible, about social media and the kinds of consequences come with misusing or using it to abuse others. Reminding and teaching young people about compassion for others before they develop less compassionate personality that social media environments can create (Kuss & Griffiths, 2011). While we all know that social media is governed by the protections of freedom of speech, there needs to be innovations and reforms that allows sites and individuals users can more productively eliminate identified cyberbullies and other harmful or hateful messages and imagery intended solely to offend or insult.
Just the other day the first of many new commercials featuring the newest piece of high tech gadgetry was previewed on television and online. It is a fully functioning tablet that one can wear as a watch. There is new technology designed into clothing that allows that kinetic energy to translate into an electrical current that can perpetually charge your device as you move; a symbiotic exchange between one’; necessary access to social media that never runs low. The innovations, inspirations and developments will only become more pervasive and persistent, this does not have to be a bad thing. The problems with this social media age and sites that it has spawned can be used for positive things, but only if everyone respects everyone else around us. Again, technology is not going anywhere, nor is the human need to communicate with others, either for business, pleasure or education. However, while the quantity of human communication may continue to increase thanks to social media, the quality of that communication is what is at risk. Society on national and international levels will need to find an amiable compromise that will allow for the innovations of modern technology and benefits of face-to-face communication can coexist in ways that are more psychologically healthy, helps develop better interpersonal skills and provides education and awareness that will work more to enforce some kind of greater ethical focus in how we teach the young to interact with that technology. Ultimately, while social media has the potential for providing great benefit, as yet, the side effects, both short and long-term, have shown that its negatives generally outweigh its positives.
Brown, C. (2013). Are we becoming more socially awkward? An analysis of the r relationship between technological communication use and socials kills in college students. University of Connecticut: Honor Scholars Theses, Paper 40, 1-119.
Farrugia, R. C. (2013). Facebook and relationships: A study of how social media use is affecting long-term relationships. Rhode Island Institute of Technology, 1-50.
Jung, B. (2015). The negative effect of social media on society and individuals. Chron Magazine, 1. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-effect-social-media-society-individuals-27617.html
Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2011). Online social networking and addiction—a review of the psychological literature. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 8(9), 3528–3552.
Pilieci, V. (2012, March 25). Is social media harming our mental health, researchers wonder?. National Post, 1. Retrieved from http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/25/is-social-media-harming-our-mental-health-researchers-wonder/
Turgeon, J. K. (2011, October 9). How facebook and social media affect the minds of generation next. The Huffington Post, 1. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/09/how-facebook-and-social-m_n_921905.html
Georgia College and State University. (2012). The negative effects of social media on children and young adults. Georgia College and State University, 1-8.
ProCon Organization. (2015, March 24). Are social networking sites good for our society?. Retrieved from http://socialnetworking.procon.org/
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