Social Media Effect
If someone asks what differences appear between this and the past generation, the answers could be diverse. However, it is evident that the differences within the two generations are the expression of the changing times and the “product” of the technological advancements. The social networking sites are of the technological advancements that have gained its tremendous popularity among different age groups. The appearance and rapid development of the social networking sites has changed people’s lives in a number of ways.
The social networking sites were crated as the tools to help people communicate with others and make connections with relatives from different areas. In this regard, they have had exceptional performances due to their universality and rapidity. However, while people are enjoying the convenience and satisfaction brought by using the social networking sites, they often ignore the dangers that are behind the pleasure from which they get, especially for teenagers. It is for a reason that teenagers spend most of their time surfing the sites, and they are immature and easily out of self-control compared to adults. Since these dominant characteristics of most teenagers are distinct, they could be the victims of the social networking sites’ side-effects. The dangers for teenagers using the social networking sites include violation of teenagers’ privacies when they over-share their personal information on the Internet, damage of their reputations due to posting inappropriate pictures because of the wrong self-expression, and finally, a devastating influence. In addition, teenagers’ over-use of the social networking sites may result in the inability of using proper grammar and having real interaction with others.
Due to current over-developed the social networking sites and teenagers’ unique traits of being socialized by over-sharing their personal information, these two factors often lead to security and privacy issues against teenagers. A few years ago, when people tried to register their accounts in the social networking sites, they might just take a couple of minutes going through the simple registration processes. However, nowadays, having accounts in those sites is just like filling in an application to the university, which involves a whole bunch of questions and personal information needed to be provided. Although the information that is required may be shown as private or public, most people mistakenly “publish” their personal information because of the complex layout and cumbersome process.
Additionally, according to the article, “The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals”, published on Chron.com, the author Brian Jung stated “the social networking sites encourage people to be more public about their personal lives.” The social networking sites have simplified their processes for uploading and created a series of new functions to serve their users. Hence, people’s private lives can become more easily revealed through their devices. For example, Facebook has recently released a new function called “Nearby Friends”, and it is applied to track or to be tracked between people’s friends from Facebook. Therefore, the modern social networking sites seem to have tendencies or even encourage the users to share their privacies with others.
The most dangerous thing about the involvement into the modern social networking sites is over-sharing of private information that is usually provided by teenagers. Teenagers are often outgoing, immature, and want to have varied social lives, all of which are understandable because those traits are exactly what they need at that age. Therefore, with the “help” of those sites, teenagers believe that the more information they can present in their profiles, the easier they can attract more people who have the same interests or background. Thus, they feel free to expand their social circles. However, what they do not notice that they provide too much private information and share it with all users attracting not only people they want, but also other people of which they need to be more aware, i.g.criminals. In an interview conducted on April 28, 2014, a Diablo Valley College student Jia Hao Tan, whose apartment was burglarized months ago because he had posted a post on his Facebook saying that he will be leaving town for a while for his vacation, he said, “I just can’t believe that someone came to my house and stole my stuff only because I had posted a few words on my Facebook.”
The network world is open and transparent. It means that the more private information individuals publish online, the higher risk they experience that this information can be seen and tracked by anyone in any location. If, unluckily, a teenager is targeted by criminals, his or her private information including home address, phone number, and even bank account can be easily found based on what he or she posts online. As a result, there are cases of the Internet fraud, sexual harassment, or any other crimes against teenagers. Therefore, the issue of security and privacy are the dangers that teenagers often ignore while using the social networking sites.
In order to draw attention, teenagers tend to post inappropriate pictures of themselves, controversial images, and coarse words on the social networking sites, all of which can result in the damage of their reputations. Posing something on the social networking sites and sharing information with friends seems to be a simple idea for people who use the sites. However, when the idea comes to teenagers, it becomes different. Most teenagers are eager to gain attentions from their peers and attract new friends by showing their uniqueness and avant-garde behaviors. In addition, the social networking sites own their universalities that allow people to check their friends’ activities anywhere via their devices. Hence, the social networking sites could be a perfect “stage” for teenagers to show themselves. However, as mentioned before, most teenagers are not as mature as adults do and they tend to use a variety of ways to represent themselves and impress others.
Adults are more likely to post things that have significant meanings to them, like getting prestigious jobs or being volunteers. On the contrary to adults, teenagers might think that posing some positive or significant posts on the sites is not “cool” enough to represent themselves. Therefore, according to the article “What Sticks & Stones Can’t Do, Facebook Will-and More!”, published on USA Today Magazine, March 2011, the author Sarah Zay stated “young girls and boys attempting to impress one another by showcasing themselves in mature situations or displaying their physique. For instance, many pictures that teenagers post online reveal underage drinking, smoking, and partying.” Indeed, having some controversial posts that present on the sites could stimulate people in order to draw their attentions, but those posts might also make people feel disgusted and leave bad impressions on who post online.
Moreover, the damage thing about teenagers’ reputations due to posing inappropriate images of themselves online is not a short-lasting event. It might negatively impact their future as well. According to the article, “The Negative Effect of Social Media on Society and Individuals”, published on Chron.com, the author Brian Jung stated “while at one moment a photo of friends doing shots at a party may seem harmless; the image may appear less attractive in the context of an employer doing a background check.” What teenagers might not know is although they can get temporary pleasure of being concerned or noted by posing those “harmless” posts, it can be very harmful in the future, especially for them applying schools or getting jobs from companies. In this way, while teenagers achieve their goals of being “cool” to acquire attention through the uploaded inappropriate and controversial pictures or images of themselves, they are losing their reputations as the price they need to pay.
Ultimately, when teenagers who spend most of their time online getting attached too much to social networking sites, their abilities of writing proper grammar and having interpersonal communication will be declined and even forgotten. Using language is a kind of knowledge because it involves two major parts including verbal and non-verbal language, all of which are needed to be learned, used, and practiced every day. However, these two major parts of language are now “attacked” by the site and teenagers themselves.
Since many social networking sites have a word limit for uploading, their users will be compulsive using other abbreviations and cyber-speech instead of writing complete sentences. For example, they might use “U” instead of You and Emoji which is an ideograph to express their emotions. Also, due to the popularity of using simplified words online, when most teenagers’ friends prefer this style of writing, they are forced to accept it in order to “catch up” the trend. Indeed, those abbreviations and cyber-speech are useful in some cases like sending a quick reply to someone. However, according to the article “The Effects of Social Media on How We Speak and Write”, published on Social Media Today, September 17, 2013, the author Karan Chopra stated “extspeak and overuse of abbreviations or slang is not appropriate for every setting.” When teenagers are getting used to these forms of writing, they are easily and unwittingly apply them into the formal situations such as writing academic essays or official resumes, thus being adversely affected.
In today’s society, people’s lives have not been evolved to live without having face-to-face meetings and interpersonal communication, therefore, the lack of ability of how teenagers interact with real people in actual situations through the non-verbal language as they depend too much on the social networking sites that could be very dangerous. Humanity’s ancestors created a series of primitive body languages in order to communicate and keep their companions from dangers. In this way, the non-verbal language seems to play a significant role for communication as well as the other one. However, teenagers’ over-use the sites that keep them isolated, seek “meeting” friends only via their devices and losing their social skills. Hence, these effects will eventually cause them having fewer opportunities to experience what additional information of the eye contact and body language contain during a conversation.
In an interview on May 5, 2014, Donna Smith who is a professor instructing Journalism course at Diablo Valley College and has been working on Media for many years said “many teens are now always holding their phones and pretending using them while they are meeting people because they don’t know how and even afraid of having interaction with those people.” This phenomenon has become common within teenagers because they are the sufferers of the over-use of the social networking sites. The most frightening thing is if this situation continues to be deteriorating, teenagers will no longer be able to understand others during the face-to-face meeting and form natural or distinct conversations and public speeches due to the lack of the interpersonal interaction. Hence, the over-use of the social networking sites can result in serious issues against teenagers because they will lose their abilities of using proper grammar in a right time and being really interactive with others.
Certainly, social networking sites have assisted people to acquire better lives. Since these sites have been performing their qualities of being universality, rapidity, and convenience, more and more people enjoy the delight and convenient conditions from them. Also, people of any age groups and different types of organizations can now use this new technology to make and maintain connections with others. However, in the meanwhile, the dangers of using these sites cannot be ignored especially by teenagers who are not mature enough and have less self-control compared to adults. The dangers behind the social networking sites against teenagers are as follows teenagers can be involved into security and privacy issues when they over-share their personal information, teenagers’ inappropriate pictures of themselves and other types of controversial images that they post online can demean their reputation, and teenagers’ over-use of the sites can result in the disabilities of writing proper grammar and making person-to-person interaction. Thus, if someone asks what differences appear most between this generation and the past generation, the answer lies in the way these people communicate with others.