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In spite of its advantages, social media negatively impacts individuals and society. Although social networking sites like Instagram, Facebook, Myspace and others give great opportunities to find new friends and develop relationships, they can negatively affect users. The Internet users become addicted to social networks losing a real perception of the environment, time, distance and other dimensions of normal life. People who are browsing those sites feel connected to others, but it is not real as it exists only in human imagination. In such a way social media encourages users to lose the connection between reality and fantasy. Therefore, in order to be psychologically healthy, individuals do not have to substitute reality with imagination.
Social Networking Sites
Social networking site is a grouping of people that are connected in accordance with their common interests and purposes (Miller 34). These sites exist in different forms and serve various people with specific demands. Some social networks are based on the most common levels of interaction like complex problem solving or sharing specific information. Cities, countries, businesses and schools are forms of social networks that erase the distance between people. Modern social networks, like Facebook, Instagram, Myspace and others provide big opportunities for people in different parts of the world.
Social networks are the applications that can work in several forms. For example, Twitter is an installed program that exists in the form of a client-based application while Facebook exists as a browser-based application. Social networking sites have become a part of life of many people who expect to have a lot of fun. However, these sites may be rather dangerous for children, teenagers and even adults, because they are the perfect places for fraud, sex predators and different maniacs.
Connections and Recommendations
According to Houser(121), social media sites create considerable difficulties for users in terms of distinguishing meaningful relationships from those that were developed through social media. In the real world, it is much easier to understand what is true and false than in the web space. Cyber-bulling is a serious problem for people who trust various sites and strangers. Thus, children are most vulnerable to predators because they do not have life experience. Oftentimes, they do not share with their parents what sites they visit and what kind of relationship they establish. However, the damage from various online attacks can ruin children’s psyche and leave mental scars for many years. Some individuals commit suicides because of the Internet traumas.
Thus, to avoid devastating consequences, online users should be well aware of the fact that social media is not only a good spot to find new friends; it can also be a dangerous place to stay. Many findings report that the immediacy provided by social media may give an easy access to predators (Scaife 67). For example, online dating sites may be a dangerous place for women who are searching life-long partners. Although social networking sites push users to be more open to strangers, it is important to remember about the danger of trusting unknown people. One should know that people often provide false photos and personal information. Therefore, nobody should trust profiles and the information written there.
What is the Danger of Social Media?
Bauman (31) assumes that social media, in spite of its advances, has numerous negative effects that can do a lot of damage to individuals, organizations, cities and even whole countries. Unfortunately, historical events (e.g. September, 11) have shown how Internet predators can organize the terrorist attacks, cyber-crimes and other wrongdoings to people. The Internet users who regularly visit networking sites become more public discussing their private lives with others. Intimate details of life can be posted very easilly and they become available to a large amount of users. Although most sites guarantee to filter users who can see personal information, they often forget their promises.
The findings reveal that one of the most dangerous things of social networking sites is that users try to live in an unreal world where they gain trust and reputation among others (Alfano. and O’ Brien 367). Teenagers spend a lot of time on most popular sites such as Myspace, Facebook and others where they leave a lot of information about themselves that can become an easy catch for different predators. Social networks can be really as dangerous as popular and lead to devastating consequences.
There is no doubt that social media is a perfect place for self-expression and rising self-esteem. Many people lack live communication with others and they view social media as a good place to express themselves. Thus, people with low self-esteem increase it with the help of unknown people. Numerous findings discuss that shy people can be more open with strangers than with those whom they know very well (e.g. coworkers, peers etc.) (Miller 37). A person can communicate with a large audience online that he or she will never interact with in real life. Therefore, many individuals prefer social networking websites to express themselves and raise their self-esteem. In order to express themselves, the Internet users often post their selfies and really get obsessed with them. This behavior attracts more people, however, most selfies can be unreal.
Social media creates an illusion of perfection for its users. These thoughts prevent people from solving problems and fight challenges. They spend their time on useless correspondence, discussions and this behavior helps them escape from reality. It is a corrupted perception of reality that cannot become a person’s goal. Real life is more complex and requires real decisions that can lead to individual development and perfection.