The technology is growing fast, especially this past decade and younger generations are the ones who are getting involved in this rapid change. The online world, over the last few years has been constantly changing. Different kinds of companies have developed social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc., that are changing the way people interact online. I can say that now it’s easier than ever to exchange and share ideas, opinions, collaborations on projects and share media content (videos, photos, audio files via social media). The teaching and learning process are currently experiencing a technological revolution, mainly because social media is presently used by the faculty or administrators to communicate with students outside or inside the classroom. There are various ways in which social media is used by faculty for professional and pedagogical purposes (Yuen, 2011). Over Seventy-three percent of teens in America are active on social media. Some studies have shown that it can also influence student’s behavior making them procrastinate, drink or even do drugs. I believe social media will never completely replace education but, it can assist with educational practices while it can improve teaching efficiency and increase learning experiences (Blankenship, 2011).
The usage of social media among students has reached high levels and has affected study time, poor grammar and wrong spellings when socializing as well as diverting the attention from studying (Ndaku, 2013). Some students spend much of the study time on social websites rather than in academic undertakings in which it has influence the Grade Point Average (GPA). It has changed the world in which we live and has affected global communication. Every day more than Ninety percent of college students visit a social network site (Connolly, 2011). While a couple of decades ago, people had to spend enormous sums of money on phone calls or waited for months to send and receive a paper letter, which in contrary social media and networks have emerged to enable unlimited, instant, and free global communication. With the help of this innovation, people have become closer to each other and can share information and multimedia, exchange messages, and track each other’s online activity with their social accounts.
However, this trend is not seen as a positive change only; while people have become closer and erased the geographical boundaries in communication, this has not in any way made communication simpler. With so many opportunities for socializing, people are as lonely as never before, and even having hundreds of friends online does not guarantee you sincerity and closeness of relationships. With all these, do social media imply a positive or negative effect on the society?
Social media are sites used by many people to pass time when they are not busy as these platforms contain a lot of information ranging from news and photos to trending topics and funny videos. Social media networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a modern way which most people around the world use to connect to friends they cannot be in physical contact with, connect to trending topics or issues around the world. People think that browsing these sites will make you feel connected to a large community by chatting, sharing pictures or videos with people who are either near you or far away from you. However, with this large-scale development in technology today, many applications have been developed and can be used to create fake images of people at different places, create fake news which are then posted on social media and therefore there is a great need for social media users to be able to differentiate authentic content from fake ones. Social media is indeed unique from other forms of communications and collaboration (Bradley, 2011). Therefore, it provides a unique form of entertainment to people and prevents boredom.
Social media users spend their spare time scrolling up and down their news feeds to find interesting things that they can either use in their daily lives or just to make them laugh. People also tend to depend their everyday living on social media. For example, Celebrities use Likes and Shares of their followers or friends and make money but also, they gain satisfaction towards themselves and provide their worth. The problem here is that people become so emotionally attached to the social media that even their social standards change.
In this modern technological age, people have become dependent on social media and because of this fact, people’s activities, behavior, decisions, and directions have become influenced by what they see or hear from it. The power of social media in exposing people to reality arises from the extensive sharing of images and videos by different people from different parts of the world (Ramos, 2017). Through the online world, therefore, people are able to get connected to the reality of situations or events happening in different parts of the world. These pictures and videos of different events happening around the world bring out different emotions to people such as anger and compassion.
Before social media, bullying was something only done face-to-face. However, now, someone can be bullied online anonymously. Today everyone knows what cyberbullying is, and most of us have seen what it can do to a person. The anonymity that social networks provide can be used by the perpetrators to gain people’s trust and then terrorize them in front of their peers. While social media provides an easier way of making friends, it also makes it easier for predators to find victims. Younger people are using mass communication without realizing the consequences. (Wallis, 2012).
These online attacks often leave deep mental scars and even drive people to suicide in some cases. There have been instances where younger children have committed suicide as the result of negative things that have been posted about them on the internet, or even kill their family members as the result of being inspired by different sites or videogames and parental controls are available to ensure website are access that are inappropriate for certain age groups, but they cannot protect young folks from what is being posted by their other friends. Social media and networking are often used as an outlet and peers can post things that are potentially hurting to others.
Some other effects can be anxiety and depression as a result of spending too much time on social media. Social media act as a stimulant, smartphone itself can inhibit the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone which leads to poor sleep which numerous studies have proven and shown that increased use of social media has a negative effect on your sleep quality and the lack of it can be a motivation to be more active on social media at night.
Social media sets a social standard for what is beautiful and perfect, especially in women’s perspective. Women who use social media a lot tend to adopt the social media standards of beauty. All those are promoted by social media to set a particular standard in beauty. Women follow what they see because they want to fit with the social standard to be called pretty. May it be a usage of makeup, trying different diets just to be skinny, or using different beauty products to achieve lighter skin?
Dove conducted a research in 2014 and the results have shown that there are over five million tweets of women about themselves and their beauty standards. Some tweets also stated that women are largely affected by what social media and that standard changes over time, making women change their attitude towards beauty too.
I believe everything in this world has its advantages and disadvantages, we just have to learn how to use both in a way that will benefit us without affecting other people. As with everything else, social media brings both good and bad things into our lives. At the end of the day, you’re the one who decides whether there’s more help or harm in it for you. Maybe all you need is find the right site for you. Perhaps switching from Facebook to Twitter, or from Instagram to YouTube. Or maybe you’re done with all of them altogether and are ready to delete your entire social media presence for good. If that feels a little too extreme, considering doing a social media detox might something once in a while Social media can be a good thing, of course, and I’m not saying you need to abandon social media for good. But too much of a good can absolutely be harmful.
In conclusion to this, my opinion regarding to the question: Does social media imply a positive or negative effect on the society? The answer is that it has a balance of both negative and positive, but I see the negative impacts weight more than the positive ones. It does not totally bring more deceit nor bring reality, it serves both and that way people become more observant and knowledgeable.
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