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I grew up in what adults refer to as “the privileged generation,” “the technology generation,” or more specificized as “Generation Z.” We are the generation that started social media. There is no denying it in any way. Social media is any website or application that enables users to interact with each other. Ways of interaction include pictures, videos, texting, and calling. Through these interactions, users are able to become closer and get to know each other better. Social media is accessible almost anywhere in the world through technology and its massive advancement. This means that people from teenagers, young adults, and moreover to older adults are all able to use social media. Those at a very young age have also started using social media. Those users have been using websites and applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and many other networking sites. These sites allow for quick and easy interaction with just about anyone, from family members to even complete strangers. A 2016 study by Pew Research Center found that 69% of Americans use some type of social media, compared to 5% in 2005 (Greenwood, 2016). Social media has changed society’s ways of sharing information and communicating with others. Though social media has led to positive changes in interaction, it also has its downsides.
Although social media plays a major role in our everyday lives, it has been discovered that it could cause loss of privacy amongst users. This loss of privacy has affected all age groups which can bring forth many threats including online hackers. Many users of these age groups, including adults, teens, and now even children are all exposed to these social media sites. With this, there is a very high chance that many do not know about privacy features and how they work. There is also the chance that many skip past these privacy filters and post information publicly for all to see. An educational website article by Penn State writes that “posting personal information leaves you open to criminal activity such as identity theft, stalking, and robbery" (Jung, 2015). In perspective, this means that if one posts personal information to social media, their information will become public and accessible almost everywhere. This makes it relatively easy for a hacker to access information based on someone's privacy filters and its strength in protection. What is being posted onto social media also threatens those users immensely. Rethinking what is posted to social media is important to keep in mind when applying for colleges and even jobs that do background checks. Those attributes are all checked on the internet before accepting or interviewing a person. This overall means that with social media, the threat for loss of privacy is very likely with our generation and who it will affect.
With social media being apart of most people's lives everyday, the threat of cyber bullying becomes reality. Cyberbullying refers to bullying a person using social media to put one down/make them feel bad. In an article by Communication and Social Media, Jeff White describes it as, “when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones” (White, 2012). Cyberbullying occurs among mostly young users and some older users of social media. Many online have foreseen the issue of cyberbullying and the effects it can leave on a person. When cyber bullying is repeated frequently toward a person, it begins to build up and can have a great affect on a person forever. It can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. It can lead to anxiety, depression and even suicide. Harford County Examiner, Richard Webster, based on Presta’s enty, found that on Facebook alone, 1 millions adolescents were victims of cyberbullying (Presta, 2016). This alone shows that the numbers of cyberbullying are high with use of social media and will continue to increase. Cyberbullying is a huge problem in our society from social media, because it can cause harm to to just about anyone. With technology changing faster than ever, cyberbullying will worsen. Overall, actions need to be taken to deal with this issue before it gets even less substantial to handle.
Since social media sites are being used around the world by millions of users everyday, the problem of decreased productivity may arise. This decrease is seen amongst mostly teens in highschool or college, and seen by employees in many jobs. While many use social networking sites as a tool to research, communicate, and for sharing information, these sites are also proven to be distractions in the classroom and in the workplace. A study based on the Nucleus Research reported that spending time on Facebook takes almost 1.5% of office productivity out of the work day (Jung, 2015). Though these social media networks are able to be blocked off servers, new technology products like VPN applications are able to unblock these filters, thus being able to continue to use social media. With this, it is obvious that social media can be very distracting for finishing tasks, which can lead to many problems. Some of these problems include not finishing work or schoolwork, being unfocused and anxious, and creates habits.
Though social media has many opposing aspects and demonstrates negative consequences, it is clearly not going anywhere. Meaning, social media is here to stay weather wanted or unwanted. There are choices to make to know whether to enforce proper use of social media for yourself and for close peers. By using filters and correct settings we can be able to utilize social media for its benefits, and not for its negative aspects. The most important reasons social media is used for is for worldwide connectivity and to be able to interact with each other. With these social media sites we are able to make friends, help build business connections, and just interact with close ones like family and friends.
To restate, it is clear that social media has its advantages and disadvantages, but as opened, social media is a helpful tool, and can be very beneficial when used properly. Though there are many negative setbacks to social media & networking, its overall use can be favorably used. In my opinion, social media has not only changed those around me, but also myself. I see using social media as both a good and bad thing, because though it is very good for interaction, sometimes it is not the interaction wanted.
Greenwood, Shannon, et al. “Social Media Update 2016: Facebook Usage and Engagement Is on the Rise, While Adoption of Other Platforms Holds Steady.” Pew Research Center, 11 Nov. 2016, www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/.
Jung, Brian. “The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals.” Chron.com, Chron, 2015, smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-effect-social-media-society-individuals-27617.html.
Presta, Rich. “UKnowKids Keeps Kids Safe Online and on the Mobile Phone.” UKnowKids Keeps Kids Safe Online and on the Mobile Phone, The Anxiety-Free Child Program, 5 Oct. 2016, www.uknowkids.com/.
Ta, Jenny Q. “What Impact Has Social Media Truly Had On Society.” Business 2 Community, 13 Aug. 2014, www.business2community.com/social-media/impact-social-media-truly-society-0974685#GVkEdhmfVrKXHjEZ.97.
White, Jeff. “Home.” Communication and Social Media, 28 May 2012, sites.ewu.edu/cmst496-stafford/2012/05/28/cyberbullying-and-social-media-part-1-of-3/.