Overwhelming use of Social Media Platforms
It is undeniable that technology has brought many changes especially on how the modern society interacts. Internet has made it possible for virtually everyone to interact through social media platforms such as Facebook, twitter, and YouTube, among others. The practice of using social media platforms has come with overwhelming benefits as well as unprecedented drawbacks. However, it can be argued that the drawbacks arise due to overuse of social media platforms. This essay focuses on the impacts of social networking.
The practise of using social media platforms for various purposes has increased with time. Social media platforms have become avenues for social communication and interaction. In fact, socialisation has increased tremendously as more people become connected to the internet. Facebook, Online gaming, and Twitter are considered the most widely used social media platforms. Millions of people across the world spend considerable time on social platforms interacting in different contexts. Making friends has been reduced to a click of a button. Using social media makes it possible to communicate and share information to many people simultaneously. Additionally, it makes it easy to follow news updates, emerging issues and interact with the world with ease. Online gaming such as Sony PlayStation Network (PSN) offers an entertainment and recreational platform. Twitter on the other hand offers a platform for quick and instant sharing of real time information for socialisation and other contexts as well (Ryan 2-4; Smith 6-7; Christakis and Fowler Web).
However, the practice of overwhelming dependency on social media raises alarm as reality sets in. For instance, natural socialisation where people meet face-to-face has been greatly hampered. Overuse of Facebook as a social platform has greatly hampered natural socialisation. People no longer need travel and meet their friends and relatives in the real world. Instead, communication is done through one platform or another. Although the impact of reliance of social media platforms on natural human interaction has not been empirically supported totally, signs are already visible in the modern society. Emotional attachment experienced when interacting naturally is evidently missing when social media platforms are used for interaction (Smith 15-17; Christakis and Fowler).
Online gamers have been signalled for neglecting their human instincts as they become increasingly addicted to online games. Korea is one of the countries with high number of online gamers. Incidences have been reported whereby, a mother supposedly let her child die of hunger as she was busy feeding an online child. Another person shot his mother when she interrupted his online game and actually stole her credit card to purchase more gaming time. Another child fell on a rail track when playing video game while walking (Smith 1-3).
The greatest trade-off, however, is compromise on health. Cases of obesity, overweight and sedentary lifestyles have been greatly attributed to overwhelming use of social media platforms. For instance, many people spend countless hours chatting on Facebook without considering the health implications. Lack of exercise becomes a predisposing factor to so many diseases and health conditions. The situation is even worsened by the fact that many people use social medial platforms for recreation after spending much time sitting in office chairs. Ideally, increased used of social networking has resulted in increased health problems (Ryan 7-11; (Christakis and Fowler Web).
For this essay, I interviewed a few of my friends who are of my age. Additionally, interviewed two of my neighbours, who are about 50 years to see what they think of social networking. It was disturbing to see the difference in opinions between these two groups. My friends felt that social networking was the best thing that ever happened to them. According to one of my friends, “I can have as many identities as possible without anyone detecting it.” She was responding to my questions on why she prefers socializing through Facebook as opposed to meeting her friend physically (Smith 12-14).
After interviewing most of my friends, I noticed that most relish possession of multiple identities. However, this has its negative impacts. People with multiple accounts on social network are likely to have identity crisis. When I interviewed my neighbours, I realized that the effects that social networks will have on the young people, who are the main users of social network, bother the older people. One of my neighbours lamented that her son has changed behaviours. She claimed his seven-year-old boy has become addicted to gaming and rarely eats with the rest. She argued that even the rest of her children rarely talked to each other since they are always busy communicating with their online friends (Ryan 11-14).
This is worrying. People are neglecting their own families to connect with people they do not know or might never meet. Most young people seem not to realize the negative impacts of social networking. One of my friends whom I interviewed claimed to have found love through Facebook. He claimed that online relationships are less demanding hence better. When I asked him why, he claimed that he “does not have to spend too much time with the girl friend.” This indicates the impact of social networking on relationships. Although social networks such as Facebook and twitter have enabled people mingle freely, commitment in relationships has become impossible. However, some of my friends argued that they could easily detect their partners if they were cheating on them, which is somehow true.
When I asked my friends to mention one of the disadvantages of social networking, most of them agreed that it has led to loss of privacy. The founders of social networks such as Facebook had initially promised to protect privacy of the users. However, this never happened. With increased number of users, the issue of privacy was compromised. Issues such as account hacking are a common phenomenon. Most of my friends agreed that they have had their accounts hacked at least ones. Others claimed not to know how to limit the amount of information their friend can view. Generally, talking with my friend and my neighbours showed that most young people are enthusiastic about social networking irrespective of its negative impacts. Conversely, the older people in the society are worried about the addictive nature of social networking (Ryan 12-15).
Online social networks such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and gaming have increased rapidly over the last decade. Social Networks have affected how people relate. People rarely get time to meet their friends and families. In fact, face-to-face interactions are almost non-existent among young people. The older generation are opposed to social networking. They feel that it is affecting the social life of the users. Another impact of social networking is the loss of privacy of the users. Additionally, social network and online game addicts are likely to face health problems since they tend to spend most of their times sitting. They fail to participate in exercises and are likely to suffer of disorders such as obesity and blood clots.
Christakis, Nicholas and James Fowler. Facebook, Obesity, and Your Friends’ Friends. Nov 2009. Web. 16 Oct 2012 <http://christakis.med.harvard.edu/pdf/publications/unpublished-essays/up_001.pdf. 16>
Ryan, Peter. Social Networking. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2011. Print.
Smith, Kaelyn. Social Networking: Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn and Other Sites Around the World. New York: Webster’s Digital Services, 2011. Print.
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