Social Media & Society

Social networking can benefit society, because it can help people stay connected and organize fund raisers or gather for events.  People can communicate over vast distances, or even across smaller distances; such as across the street.  Social networking helped the Egyptian people start, successfully carry out a revolution to overthrow their government.  Social networking has also helped organize charity events such as food drives, and other gatherings designed to help people.  Social networking can also help schools organize events, and broadcast the results of those events – if it was something like an awards ceremony or a contest.  However, there are  a lot of bad things that can be done with social media as well.

An example of a bad thing that social networking can cause or is responsible for is addiction.  There are people out there who find these challenges on the Internet, and then try to complete them for whatever attention would come from that.  People can get addicted to the instant responses that come from posting on social media, constantly checking whatever platform that they are currently using.  People can also find that they are addicted to the instant attention, and “fame” that comes from amassing a variable amount of responses.  This leads to people thinking that the entire world revolves around them, and the things that they do.

Another example of a bad aspect of social networking is narcissism. When people post constantly, and get that instant feedback they start to think that they are better than everyone else. The person starts to think that they are the best, and that there is nobody else who can do things better than they can. The person can start thinking that they are the only who is important, and that nothing else matters except them (that person). The person will continue with these views until they are separated from the social networks. Which leads into the next point against social networking – depression.

A person who is constantly using social media can become depressed when they do not get the amount of responses that they had expected. The person might feel like nothing matters; the person could begin to feel numb and invalidated due to the amount of attention that they are not getting. The person could then begin to feel like they are worthless. The person could also feel that nothing they do holds any merit, and that they are not worth the instant gratification that comes from social networking. This feeling of depression could also be brought on by another thing that has come with social networking, cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is the act of a person, or group of people, using social networks to bully and harass another person or group of people. Cyberbullying can lead to the victim feeling worthless, and depressed. Victims of cyberbullying often skip school or other social functions, due to the low self-esteem that is brought on by the bullies. Cyberbullying can also lead to the victims to the extreme of committing suicide, which comes as a result of the low self-esteem and constant barrage of ridicule that is experienced. According to Hinduja and Patchin. “targets of cyberbullying were almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide (1.9 times), whereas perpetrators were 1.5 times more likely compared to their uninvolved peers” (2010). Social media can also lead to teens experimenting with things that could lead to serious injury or death.

Some of the things that could lead to serious injury or death, would be these challenges that make the rounds once in a while. One such challenge that has been going around lately is the Tide pod challenge, where teens are biting into or eating the detergent packets for instant responses – such as likes or retweets on Facebook or Twitter. Another challenge involved teens intentionally making themselves pass out, which could cause brain damage or death. This challenge was passed around on sites such as Facebook and Instagram, and teens had been hanging themselves from trees or closets in attempts to “win” this challenge. Social networking/media has given rise to challenges like this, where the objective is to skirt death; which usually leads to death or serious injury.

Constant social media use can also lead to teens spreading gossip that might prove to be harmful, which could lead to cyberbullying, which was mentioned above. The spread of gossip could also lead to teens feeling like they are being pushed out of their friend groups, which in turn could make them feel isolated or cut off. Online gossip could also lead to teens sharing misinformation, which in turn leads them to spread lies or wrong information. This could also lead to personal information being given out without their permission. The consequences of leaking personal information could also lead to secrets or information meant only for a specific person, or group of people.

When this personal information is leaked, it’s easily accessible and spread through groups of people with just a few clicks of the mouse. This could lead to the victim’s reputation being impacted negatively, giving them the stigma that there is something wrong with them or that they are worthless. The act of leaking the information could make the victim feel like they are constantly being watched, or that somebody out there knows everything about him or her. The victim of the leak might also feel that the only way to escape from the victimization is that he or she needs to commit suicide. The way that this can be countered against is by using good security measures, such as a strong password and two-factor authentication.

Another negative impact that social media could have is infidelity in relationships. Social networking has made it easier for people to get into extramarital affairs, and seek out activities that could lead to them losing their marriage or relationship. Social networking has given rise to sites like Ashley Madison, which is a site that allows a person to seek out other people who want extramarital affairs. People have even used sites like Facebook or Instagram to seek out affairs, which can lead to things such as divorce or separations. With the prevalence of social media cheating or infidelity is much easier to do, but easy to prove if the third party (the husband or wife) can find the cheater’s account/s.

Hacking is another risk that can come from the use of social networking; which means a malicious user can use fake websites to gain access to a victim’s online accounts. Once the malicious user has control over the accounts, he or she can then begin to spread false information or hold the accounts ransom for some kind of pay back. This pay back can be in the form of money or some kind of service that he or she thinks the victim owes the malicious user. Sometimes accounts are stolen so that the malicious user can use the victim’s identity as his or her own. The best away to avoid this is to limit the amount of personal information that a person keeps on social media – the less information listed, the better.

Identity theft is another thing that could happen as a result of using social networking sites. A malicious user might steal the identity of his or her chosen victim; as means to run up fraudulently gained credit cards, or surcharges made under that person’s name. The malicious user could then use that information gained from the victim to open bank accounts; which allow him or her to accrue massive amounts of debt, other charges which would fall back on that person. The malicious user could also commit forgery, and falsify documents using the victim’s identity which would allow him or her to do whatever they want.

 

Hinduja, S, and J W Patchin. “Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide.” Archives of Suicide Research: Official Journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2010, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20658375.

Lindner, Matt. “Does Using Social Media Make You More Likely to Cheat?” Chicagotribune.com, 11 Nov. 2016, http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-social-media-cheating-family-1115-20161111-story.html.

Ahmad, Bilal. “10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Media for Society -.” TechMaish, 10 Mar. 2016, http://www.techmaish.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-social-media-for-society/.

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