The world is developing at a tremendous pace, and it is seen that every day a new advancement is done in the field of information technology. Since the development of computers, it is understood that further improvements have been made to bring people close. Social networking is one of the inventions made in the field of social networking, which aimed to bring people to close through electronic means. It is through social networking that people can find their lost old friends. These social networking portals have also introduced the options of games and other exciting stuff to keep individuals hooked up to the websites. Nowadays joining sites such as Facebook and Myspace have become a norm for the whole society. Increasingly it is seen that the younger generation is being diverted to these networking habits. Social networking has become a topic of debate these days as it is understood that many types of research are being carried out to find out the pros and cons of it. This essay would revolve around the pros and cons of social networking. It would present a conclusion as to what should be done concerning the problems that it poses (University of Minnesota, 2008).
The stigma of social networking is spread all over the world to places like Pakistan and India. It has been found that social networking has many benefits when it comes to the younger generation. A study done by the researchers of the University of Minnesota concluded that around 94 percent of the people use the internet in which approximately 77 percent of them had a profile on a social networking site. The research found out the positives of social networking and related it to the skills of technology. It has been found that social networking helps in increasing technological capabilities, along with creativity. A researcher said, “What we found was that students using social networking sites do the kinds of skills we want them to practice in the 21st-century build to succeed today “(Minnesota University 2008).
These social networking sites can help educators to inform the younger generation about possible topics through these social networking sites. The educators can use these social networking sites as a tool to inform and educate their audience in a way that interest is created amongst the students (Warner 2008).
Another positive of social networking websites lies in the communication that it may provide in times of emergency. Researchers have found out that these networking sites can prove to be an excellent tool for the transmission of information from one area to the other. In natural disasters such as earthquakes or human-influenced floods, one can easily transmit information on these social networking websites faster than the traditional media. It can help in the diffusion of knowledge from one area to another so that everyone is informed about the calamity. It is also found that the social networking websites such as Facebook have allowed disaster management organizations to work on the site so that they can create awareness amongst the masses of the society (Inderscience Publishers 2010).
Social networking also helps people to integrate with society if they are suffering from problems. People who are suffering from common diseases such as autism are at ease when talking on the internet. Thus these social networking websites provide an advantage to these socially impaired people to speak and get engaged in conversations. It has also been found that social networking is helping people to communicate efficiently.
While social networking has its benefits, it also has certain disadvantages which should be kept in mind when analyzing these portals. The most potent drawback of these websites is that of privacy when it comes to specific issues. It is seen that these social networking websites do not have strict privacy settings when it comes to its users. A research found that personal information of users is leaked out to the websites which help in tracking the users. A social networking site provides a specific string of characters to a particular profile, and these strings of characters are then forwarded to the tracking site so that it can help in tracking the patterns. In some cases, social networking websites do provide privacy settings, but the research found out that these settings are not used by many of the people. Hence, their personal information can leak out on the internet (Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2009).
In other cases, it is also seen that social networking can prove to be disastrous for people as it lowers the face to face communication. These websites are creating a space between friends as it is allowing many to communicate through electronic media. Not only this, but social networking websites have also proved to be a site where people can act anonymous and indulge in the activities of cyberbullying. A tragic incident relating to cyberbullying has been reported on a popular social networking website when Megan Meier hung herself because anonymous neighbors cyberbullied her. Moreover, these websites are also creating problems for people who would instead want to communicate in real rather than on these websites (Jarvis 2009).
It has also been found that social networking has adverse effects on health. Although these websites are designed to create social integration, some claim that they have failed to do it as they are affecting the health of individuals by decreasing personal interaction. Dr. Sigman approves that social networking is creating a difference in the society by causing adverse biological effects for those who are reducing their interaction. According to him, evolution is a critical feature that helps in social integration in real life, and growth supports personal communication rather than networking (BBC News 2009).
The problems associated with social networking can be overlooked if the advantages are considered. The educators can use the benefits to their use and influence the younger generation to be more creative while using these portals. Social networks can also allow business people as they can advertise while they sit on these websites. One has to limit the use of social networking so that the face to face communication of people is not affected. Moreover, the privacy settings of these networks should be increased so that anonymous people cannot access this information.
- Is social networking a waste of time? Bernhard Warner, 2008. Times Online. <http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article3536749.ece>
- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (2009, August 25). Many Online Social Networks Leak Personal Information To Tracking Sites, New Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from HTTP://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090824151307.htm
- Online Networking harms health. BBC News, 2009. < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7898510.stm>
- University of Minnesota (2008, June 21). Educational Benefits Of Social Networking Sites Uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from HTTP://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080620133907.htm
- Inderscience Publishers (2010, February 10). Social networking sites could solve many communication problems when disaster strikes.ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2011, from HTTP://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209183131.htm
- Social Not-Working: The Perils of Too Much Communication. Tim Jarvis, 2009. Oprah Magazine. <http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Negative-Impact-of-Social-Networking-Websites-at-Work>