Social Media Impact On People’s Social Skills Research Paper Example
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Undeniably, there has been a tremendous change in technology over the years. These changes have in a certain way brought changes in the ways that individuals operate or communicate with each other. Individuals now have the opportunity to evolve with the way the Internet impacts on the society. One of the greatest impacts is that the social media helps individuals to connect with individuals far and close away. Nonetheless, the use of social media has spread from websites such as Twitter and Facebook to Instagram and LinkedIn. These sites impact the way individuals communicate, get jobs, and share ideas and news. In the article, “The Effects of Social Media” networking is “harmless, but some researchers suggest social media may affect our mental health and wellbeing,” (The Effect of Social Media, p.1). Furthermore, Facebook encourages anxiety and lead to an increase in the emotional turmoil of the individual. While many individuals believe that social media websites enhance social skills, it does not do this as cyber bullying has become a vexing factor in the society. This paper is going to focus on the impacts that social media has on people’s social skills.
Some researchers believe that social media makes individuals miserable. Social media is a phenomenon that shapes the present and the future generations and the way that individuals live and communicate. Social media helps individuals to communicate through a screen and the written word instead of chatting face to face. Often one sees individuals alone with their heads bent over phones or laptops. In many cases, these individuals are seated with others but it is as though no one else matters but the electronic device that these individuals use to communicate. Many critics believe that this behavior fosters the lack of communication within families and detracts from the true process of socialization. The harsh reality is that families no longer sit together and talk at meal times as in many household everyone has an electronic device that takes up the time that one would normally use to “talk” about the day’s events. This act cannot be good for the building of close family bonds within the family additionally, what message does a father send when he interrupts his child who wants to talk about his football game because he has a telephone conference that he “must” take from his client in Japan? The message has a number of negative connotations as the child eventually learns to talk to his friends via social networking sites.
Graham believes that “with over 73 percent of online adults now using a social networking site, social media has dramatically impacted the world in both positive and negative ways,” (Graham, par. 1). Many critics ponder at the positive impact of the social media even as the question of the effect on mental health surfaces. But, as with every aspect of one’s life, the impact of the social media varies according to the individual’s preference. One benefits from the social media networks as it allows for great interaction with individuals over great distances. In addition, one may find long lost friends or make new friends across social media sites. The problem however is when one allows social media networks to take control of one’s waking hours or impose on the quality time that one spends with family and friends. The truth is that whatever an individual does via cyberspace is totally different from what the individual does on a face-to-face basis while conversing. A number of shy individuals find courage across social network and become open about their thoughts and feelings. In contrast, these individuals would never dream of being open with their thoughts and feelings face-to-face.
Conversely, one may suggests that social media sites help individuals to build their communication skills that would normally be hidden. But, social media networks are open to cyber bullying and negative repercussions for individuals because of the negative repercussions that come with being too open and honest with others. Statistics show that approximately 70 % of the individuals on the social networking sites are not honest and trustworthy. They share information that destroys the morale of many innocent and impressionable minds. But why does this continue to grow when there are negative effects of social media? The reality is that most individuals want to “fit-in” with the acceptable groups in the society and they forget that face-to-face communication builds on social skills.
Best – selling author and renowned psychologist, Michael S. Broder, Ph.D., postulates that children find it easier to communicate their problems online than they communicate face-to-face, (as cited by Graham, par. 6). In fact, children who have difficulty relating socially find that they can try to learn social skills through friends online. Nonetheless, finding ways to acquire social skills online can have a negative impact on individuals that can negatively impact on the development of social skills. The moment that an individual see their relationship on the social media as a better life than their real life experiences, they use it as an escape from reality of life. The larger the use of social media networks, the more likely it is that one’s personal satisfaction decreases.
Wolpert postulates that “children’s social skills may be declining as they have less time for face-to-face interaction due to their increased use of digital media,” (Wolpert, par.1). Additionally, Wolpert points to the UCLA research that suggests that sixth-graders who do not come in contact with social networking sites do much better at reading the emotions of others than those who spend hours using their electronic devices. Many individuals look at the benefits of using social media in their daily lives but they fail to look at the social; repercussions that these networks have on the development of the social skills. Conversely, an increase in the use of social media decreases one’s sensitivity and forces one to lose one’s ability to comprehend the emotions of others. This displacement of face-to-face social interaction reduces social skills.
Still, many critics argue that social media networks make individuals become socially awkward. Brown ‘s study of college students who are engrossed in the social media networking sites walk with their heads down as they are often wrapped up with the need to remain as a part of the technological realm, (Brown, p. 1). Additionally, Brown believes that individuals communicate through the only viable way that one communicates in the 21st century. Researches show that within “the last decade, advances in information technologies have substantially altered the way humans interact,” (Brown, p.1). Additionally, Brown further reinforces the common trend that “between email, texting, social networking, instant messaging, and Skype, people now have the resources that would make it possible to spend days or months without coming face-to-face with another person,” (Brown, p. 1). Nonetheless, these individuals “remain connected with the world,” (Brown, p.1)
But, how connected can one really be when one cannot find the time for learning social skills that come with the very existence of communicating face-to-face with the basic elements of the society. Furthermore, one can only agree with Brown’s findings that suggest that from 1995 to the present, the number of social media users around the world rose “from 16 million to 2280 million as of March of 2012, which is 32.7% of the world’s total population,” (Internet World Stats, 2012 as cited by Brown, p.1). As a result, new technologies allow for faster and easier interactions and helps individuals overcome their social anxiety that hampers their communication skills. With the social anxieties that many individuals face, the social media networks allows these individuals to communicate better through texting rather than communicating in person.
Researchers also indicate that neuroscience research examines the technological issues associated with communication and how it alters one’s brains, (Brown, p.2). The brain of the individuals are constantly on the internet are similar to drug addicts in significant ways, (Brown, p.2). Additionally, one’s brain reacts to the ping of text messages and sends a small amount of dopamine to the brain. Conversely the process is similar to being under the influence of drugs. Similar to a drug addiction, the more time one spends on the internet, the less time one has for socialization in the traditional way. As a result, one can conclude that the more time one spends on these social networks, the less time one spends with family and friends. The constant use of the Internet causes children, to lose focus on learning in the traditional ways as their attention lies with exploring the social media. Consequently, more and more individuals have found themselves in an “autistic society” that places little or no values on face-to-face interaction (Yehuda, 2001, as cited by Brown, p.3).
In conclusion, social media websites have impacted on the social skills of the individuals as individuals lean towards communicating via the Internet rather than communicating with each other directly. The fact is that social media offers the individual an opportunity to express themselves more freely as they overcome social anxiety and the need to fit in with friends. Conversely, many individuals learn from family interactions many social skills that cannot be learnt via the Internet. While theoretical ideas are common on the Internet, the practical experiences that create family bonds get lost when individuals draw on the Internet as a means of educating their minds.
Brown, Cecilia, "Are We Becoming More Socially Awkward? An Analysis of the Relationship Between Technological Communication Use and Social Skills in College Students." (20Psychology Honors Papers. Paper 40. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/psychhp/40
Graham, Regina F. (2014, April 16) Psychologist: Social Media Causing A ‘Distancing Phenomena’ To Take Place Washington (Wnew) — CBS DC internet version. Retrieved from http://washington.cbslocal.com Accessed January 31, 2015
Wolpert, Stuart (2014, August 21) Health + Behavior In our digital world, are young people losing the ability to read emotions? UCLA Newsroom Retrieved from http://newsroom.ucla.edu Accessed January 31, 2015
The Effects of Social Media, (3025, 09). Slogan, 19, 7-8. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1566608177?accountid=458 January 15
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