Today’s generation lives in an environment saturated with media. It enjoys the increasing access to the social media, television, movies, music, games, websites, and advertising—often on pocket-size devices like cell phones.
Social media websites have become a prominent part of our lives today, but what are they really? What are the negative and the positive effects? Are we as a society becoming people who are more concerned with Facebook and Twitter than our daily lives? When it comes to these sites there are many positive aspects but there are as many dangers and risks that are associated with sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. In order to be aware of all the sides of social media, we must dig in and research this topic thoroughly before we over-indulge in it.
If not misused or abused, these social media could act as a great tool for professionals, helping small business owners to market skills and find business opportunities. We can use these sites to network professionally. Apart from that, people like me, who have friends dispersed across the globe, can use social media to keep in touch with them.
Despite the few positives of the social media, they pose many risks, some involved with these platforms and others with the Internet in general. One of the risks that is most highlighted by today’s media is cyber bullying; over the internet, which mostly occurs on social media sites, such as Facebook.
Cyber bullying, according to Google, is defined as the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
Another scary fact about young people and the Internet is that they are too open and public with personal information. Most of our generation does not read the privacy policies of the websites and are unaware that their information is at risk of disclosure to third parties like advertisers. When teens, young adults, and anybody else for that matter, use the Internet without reading all disclaimers and policies, this opens them up to having their personal information divulged. This is a serious issue due to the rising rate of cyber crimes like identity theft among many others. Once you’re a victim of identity theft or even a computer virus, there’s not much you can do to make it better, the best way to avoid this misery is to be careful and conscious of what you’re putting out on the Internet before it happens.
Social networking sites can also be very harmful to the wellbeing of your computer if you’re not careful, many hackers can get access to your information very easily by using tactics such as social engineering. Social engineering plays on human nature to get results and access to personal information. Basically, the hacker goes into a friend’s account or creates a false account for a friend and gets you to click on a link to a video or another site and when you click, your computer becomes infected with a virus of some kind.
It is also believed that sites such as Facebook can actually influence you to spend more money. The way they do this is through advertisements on the corner of your screen; the ones nobody pays attention to, and also games such as Candy Crush, farmville and others. This kind of almost subliminal advertising can subconsciously pressure you to buy a certain product or service.
In many cases it is very clear that social media have become not only part of people’s lives but the thing their life revolves around. We see people on smartphones every two minutes looking for the newest Tweet or status updates from friends. We find that being “Facebook official” brings validity to things in our lives and the list of examples goes on. Like seriously, you don’t have to let all your Facebook friends and Twitter followers know that you were at the gym last night or that you’re on a date with your boyfriend. There is a reason personal life is called “private” life. It’s important to realize that this great tool is just that, a tool, not a lifestyle!
In this day and age we are pressured ten different ways as far as our beliefs and opinions are concerned. Are we standing up for what we believe in our lives and having our own thoughts, or are we so influenced by this phenomenon that we mistake what we have seen for our own opinions? Social media sites can not only help us become more socially able but, also make us inept as well. We sometimes share too much with too many people. Overall, we have to be careful and caution while approaching these things.
I am not being anti-social media, I am just trying to make you believe that social media have the strength to influence and control people’s lives, but, we don’t need to stay away from it. People are a lot stronger than social media and we can easily think before we act and also think before we speak. There is nothing to be worried about if we are wise when we share something on social media.