The Role of the Social Networking Sites

Social networking sites and devices, including Twitter, Face book, and BBM are damaging our relationships with other people. This also has a significant effect on our society in which we live. People intend to go online, often without thinking much about implications, and they do not realize the effect and impacts caused by their actions (Dibben). An old friend of mine was a victim of Cyber bullying; he would never leave his house except for his school, where he was not treated well. He went into a state of depression in which he lost all his friends and his family appreciation. The cyber world is not a very friendly place to be if we come to think of it.

The world where we live is not always positive; it has a dark side to it. Hatred, racism, discrimination, and anti-Semitism are all part of our world, and these traits affect our society in many different ways (Donaghy). Internet has evolved overtime and become a very effective tool to spread hatred, giving anyone the ability to reach an audience of millions. Cyber bullying is fairly new to the society but is has the most effect upon teenagers and children. Bullying is not limited to the school yard anymore. Abraham Foxman from Anti-Defamation league said: “We know that cyber bullying can damage reputations and destroy lives”. Adolescent psychiatrist Michael Carr-Gregg said: “Cyber bullying was a significant public health issue, parents are often in the dark about what goes on in their children’s world of internet and text messaging communication and often do not realize the capacity of harm in the cyber world can be much faster, widespread and just as damaging as in the playground”. With the population increasing into large social networks or communities such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, it is easy for a child or an adult to become a target, which will be harmful to them in some way. For example, research show students involved in cyber bullying are unwilling to attend school; they receive poor grades, have health problems and even use alcohol and drugs. The main problem with online victimization and cyber bullying is the fact that victims can be found and humiliated 24 hours per day from any location of the world (Suzannah). When bullied in the social network, whether with the text or image, it is virtually impossible to remove the content from cyber world. While it may not be common, but suicides are also outcomes of cyber bullying, and there are many cases out there. Anyone can be a target in the cyber world, and one need to be careful and realize, who his true friends are.

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Social networking sites and devices can be very harmful. People spending hours online can develop disorders or even worst, diseases. Many people are not aware of the fact that they are harming themselves mentally. For example, the most common disorder is addiction. Addiction usually refers to compulsive behavior that leads to negative effects (Radowitz). Ubiquitously, people feel pressured to exercise socializing so often that they become a detrimental habit, which then interferes with other important activities such as work or school. “You don’t have to worry about being an Internet addict if you’re spending some time on the Internet. It is a clinical addiction when it becomes totally consuming and you’re losing your job, your friends and family and your health because of it”, says Mr. Norman, who holds a Doctorate Degree in Experimental Psychology. Sleeping disorder or insomnia are very unhealthy and can be very problematic since this condition can lower the level of output of a person. Eating disorder occurs when a person eats too much or avoids eating, which can have a negative effect on one’s physical and mental health. Anxiety and depression are a state of low mood, which consequences are getting locked inside the house or avoiding contacts with people or having face to face interaction. Dr. Catriona Morrison from the University of Leeds said: “There was a high correspondence between the amount of time spent on the internet and levels of depression, the internet now plays a huge part in modern life, but its benefits are accompanied by a darker side”. I believe, social networking encourages people to spend more time alone, rather than with someone else. “The Internet can cause a sense of loss of time and place and disassociation from reality, in a sense, the Internet is a new form of mood-altering behavior”, says Mr. Greenfield, who holds a Doctorate Degree in Psychology and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. These internet sites are not only affecting the person using them but the entire family of a person, as well. It can ruin one’s relationship with family and friends (Vogels). The best thing to do is spread awareness and be old fashioned.

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False relationships or connections are often made in the cyber world. Social network makes it difficult for us to distinguish between a relation and a false relation. Dating online is almost like a gamble; one can never really trust someone. On the other hand, it can also affect our privacy. Networking sites encourage people to be more public about their lives and relationships because the details of our lives can be posted easily. For example, posting a picture of friends at a party may seem harmless, but the image may appear less attractive in the context of an employer doing a background check. It is nearly impossible to control what happens online. Dr. Monica Whitty, a lecturer in psychology at Queen’s University, Belfast, said that although engaging into virtually-based relationships can be entertaining and jovial, the repercussions are disastrous since true relations can be lacerated this way. There are many stories out there of people ruining their lives and reputation by just posting something personal. Between the young generations, it is almost like a modern trend to fall in love with an online friend, although it is actually not a true feeling. Everyone knows that there are good and bad people out there, but one will never be able to judge or know them through a social networking site, which I believe is a fact. For example; one of my old friend, who talked to a girl for months online and fell in love with her, turned out to be a guy having some fun. As a result, my friend was heartbroken and embarrassed, everyone made fun of him. Relationships are just not real online.

Moreover, cyber, parallel universe is a true paradise for the internet scammers. The unanimous opinion of the scholars is that the social networking platforms are regarded as the most efficient tools to get accessed to potential “dupes” and other victims of the illegal and semi-legal transactions. To illustrate, during the latest decade the SEC (Security Exchange Commission) of the United States investigated and dissolved 12 Ponzi schemes (the scam operation, based on the false-investment transactions), which resulted in $ 7,8 billion in damages for the investors. The litigation and criminal investigation are both underway now. The fact of particular importance for the needs of this essay is that online social networking platforms have been used by the creators of those schemes so as to obtain the monetary funds of those, who decided to participate. The state officials and the cyber world academic community share a co-joint opinion that online-community is among the most vulnerable to such schemes, and; therefore, this factor constitutes another major disadvantage of online social networking.
The bad news is that internet is not going anywhere for a long time. Bullying someone online for no reason, affecting one’s mental and physical health or impractical relationships online destroy one’s privacy on the internet, which is basically becoming a part of everyone’s live (directly or indirectly). The best way to deal with these issues is to spread awareness, especially among the young generation and their parents. Social networks are not always bad; they can be useful, too, if one knows with whom or what he is dealing.

However beneficial or negative the aftereffects of social networking may be, a dissenting opinion of the opposing academic camp shall be highly considered. Naturally, the goal of reaching an eternal verity does seem to be an unattainable task of considerable difficulty. The next part of the paper examines the separate opinions of those, who do not share a common opinion.
Social networking sites and devices, including Twitter, Facebook, and BBM, are damaging our relationship with other people. In support of my thesis, the argument that I made in my paper was backed up by some well-known sources. My argument was agreeable with them and was based on some facts in our society and the dangers that are undeniable by the public such as cyber bullying. The arguments made by John Smith are misleading the readers with invalid supports by unknown sources. The arguments presented are weak and not direct, and it is unclear what message the author is trying to convey to the reader.

This argument states that online dating and social networks have increased relationship opportunities for many people regardless of their age, culture, or background. This statement is based on an unspoken assumption which is not necessarily true. Dating online is nearly a gamble; one can never really trust someone online. One could be interacting with someone who could be married for the past twenty years. Online dating is the main source of unsuccessful and false relationships among people. People intend to focus on meeting someone online because it is a fast and easy way, without realizing that they can be a victim of crime. According to Vogels, knowing that online dating sites are full of lonely women (and men for that matter) looking for love, would certainly make them a perfect trawling ground for violent men looking for victims. Potentially violent suitors are not the only threat you need to protect yourself from online. An even more common danger is spammers and financial scammers who see online dating sites as a gold mine of vulnerable targets (Vogels A25). Smith claims that someone’s age, culture or background does not matter when dating online which is not true. For example, a twenty year- old girl will not prefer dating a man who is forty, a guy from India would never prefer dating a girl from Japan, and vice versa. Even though we live in a free world, but most people would consider these factors before dating someone. Support for Smiths argument is not specific and direct; it seems like a repetition of the argument.

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According to Smith, social networking has helped many businesses and companies expand their audience as well as improve their relationship with their consumers, including the relationships and ties with other companies and businesses. The argument is not true; Smith has not shown any evidence to prove this argument. The fact of the matter is that it allows business and companies to be exposed in front of millions. If the company has some legal issues, it will be known around the world which is not good for business. The consumer has the right to question the companies or even sue them; if such actions take place, the news could spread online; which will result in loss of many consumers and weaken the ties with other companies. It will take one mistake, one consumer, one situation being questioned for a business to suffer a loss. One scenario can be a business selling a product for years, and suddenly increasing the price will naturally make consumers unhappy; the consumer can use the power of social network to protest against the company and force their decision on the company. The authors Cunningham and Jeff Hunt argue that social media can damage a company’s reputation; the irony was probably evident on AT&T’s management, with angry customers acting as an online “smartmob”. The whole campaign had used the very connectivity that AT&T supplied in order to erect a national rally against what they considered being a poor service of the company. iPhone Nation, under the leadership of the worldwide famous activist and blogger, Dan Lyons, called everyone to action On Friday, December 18, at 13:00, with the threat to overburden the AT&T database and turn it down (Cunningham and Hunt 28). Social sites have also been very famous for defaming and negatively portraying brands and companies. A great variety of both internationally and domestically incorporated legal entities started to use online social networking platforms ,but no evident results have been obtained insofar because such companies did not elaborate a specific customized strategy and did not target a specific audience (preferring to focus on the general public) (Sunday 22). Companies intend to make more sales via social media, people are sick of companies desperately trying to sell their products through online advertisement and blogs. No one would want to deal with a business which is pushy and only cares about making sales.

Social media plays a big role in physical social environments and events, in today’s world. The point made in the argument is true, but social media also causes many negative effects on the society where we live. I will admit that many of us are present on some social networking site, and some are even addicted to it. First thing to anyone’s concern should be an invasion of privacy; people would share things online that they would not share in real life. It happens often that confidential information is released through social media, and once it is out there, no one can stop it; the wider the audience, the bigger the impact. Websites like MySpace and Twitter can spell disaster once a post or Tweet goes viral. According to the Sunday Mail, gatecrashers are turning up to 95 per cent around large teenage parties; they keep going from party to party until they get in the house (as security firms say). Some gatecrashers carry lists of several parties on the night, often after seeing them posted on the internet or sites such as MySpace. Parents and schools are cancelling parties if they find out they have been advertised on the internet, because of the risk of violence or damage (Dibben 33). Some people are also affected physically and mentally in their social environment; making more friends online provokes them to spend less time outdoors with their real friends, which can lead to depression. According to an article published in Africa News, researchers have found that there seems to be a positive causation between excessive networking (which exceeds three hours in a row) and negative health behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse, mental oppression and other symptoms. In extreme cases, the negative effect can even extend to suicide (“Social” 17). Smith has focused on the positive effect of social media but ignored the fact that it is affecting us in the opposite way.

In conclusion, it is obvious that Smith’s arguments are flawed; they are not based on well-argued statements, the overall thesis in not convincing. Basically, Smith is saying that social media is improving our lives and changing our world in a positive way, which is absolutely not true. Overall, social media is destroying our lives and significantly affecting our youth and the future generation. Social sites are not a healthy or positive place to be for most people. People just need to be aware of the consequence before they turn on their computers.

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