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The world has been digitalized with technologies that shape people's lives, a concept that has left many people in the dark. Specifically, the Internet is one of the technical advances that has given the ever-changing world infinite possibilities. Social networking, one of the growing trends in the modern world, has been the subject of debate on its potential to enhance one's social life, especially through connectivity. Social networking has social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, where users create a public or semi-public identity and chat through shared connections. Facebook is the most popular social network platform with slightly above 1.8 billion users. The mentioned technology is an online social network that allows people across the globe to share information; its negative effects arise when the members of the society misuse it, thereby causing harm to the community. The primary purpose of social media was to provide a platform that will enable people to the network by increasing connectivity. However, while there are an increased online connectivity, misuse and intense use of social networks, specifically Facebook has negative effects on the American community. The paper seeks to support the claim that Facebook has more detrimental effects on the American community as compared to its merits by highlighting its negative impact.
The American Community
America, being a first world country, has experienced significant changes in technology over the years. Before the age of the internet and social media, the American community valued families and family values were part of the core values of the nation. It was common to find members of a family together engaging in meaningful conversations. Back in the 20th century when Facebook was not there, people had time for each other. When Facebook was launched in 2004, it was the beginning of breaking family ties. The American community became fragmented and the effect intensified as the social network continued to make its entry into the society (Marche n.p). Cases of psychological illnesses were reported to be on the increase in the number of broken families increased. The people who are most affected in the community are teenagers because they happen to go into isolation when they are interacting with virtual friends on social media. They end up experiencing the feeling of loneliness (Marche n.p). As such, Facebook has not only broken down family ties but also affected the health of individuals hence impacting the community.
Conversation about Facebook
Regarding the impact of Facebook, various people, both prominent and less known, have engaged in the conversation expressing themselves either from life experiences or what they have observed since Facebook was launched. Specifically, a majority have expressed dissatisfaction on how the social network is taking over communication forum and mainly affecting American community. For instance, one of the students at Harvard University where Facebook was first found talks about her experience in Facebook and how it has affected her life. The student recounts that when she first joined the social network platform, she expected so much especially linking up with her old friends who had relocated and some of her family members who they could only meet once in a while (Shea n.p). The experience was not so bad until when she realized that other people's lives as portrayed by social media were better than what she lived. She started comparing herself and with her Facebook friends and after sometimes she started having an issue with her self-esteem. The student agrees that although she was able to connect with friends and family and even expanded her circle of friends, the impact it had on her life was adverse because she could forget about her offline friends while trying to be linked with the online friends (Shea n.p).
Adverse Impacts of Facebook to the Community
The conversation is a subject that psychologist has decided to tackle as Craig Malkin, a clinical psychologist talks about how Facebook has led to many teenagers trying to create fake personalities as a way of having "perfect lives" on Facebook. Malkin explains that Facebook has created the feeling of dissatisfaction among users especially those who spent much of their time in the social network comparing their lives with that of "friends" hence experiencing the feeling of envy and distress (Shea n.p). According to a study that she carried out among students from two universities in Germany, Malkin found out that when one is on Facebook, and they view the activities of other users, they become dissatisfied with their lives. In worst cases, they suffer emotional pain, and the feeling of resentment is the outcome. Once one is resentful due to social media activities, their offline relations are also affected because they cannot appreciate their real lives and that of the people around them. Malkin also explains that the mistake people make when they go on Facebook is to try and craft a persona portraying themselves as the happiest when the reality is that they are not happy (Shea n.p). Notably, when teenagers get to see images and events that their peers post, they want to measure up to them, and that leave them affected psychologically.
Prevalently, the conversation about the adverse effects of Facebook and its demerits to the community does not end without an input of parents and guardians. In the recent past, complaints from parents regarding behavioral change of their kids have been on the rise. Specifically, the main complaint is that children are spending so much time on the social network and they become withdrawn such that they choose not to speak up even when they are facing stressful situations. Notably, teenagers who fall, victims of cyber bullying, do not tell their parents about their experience. Parents say that although they would love to be involved in the lives of their children to fulfill their parenting role, Facebook and other platforms has broken the family goals that advocated for openness whenever one is faced with a difficult situation (Akbiyik 5). Teens also seem to confide in friends they make on Facebook more than their families and friends in their surroundings, which expose them unsafe conditions and online predators.
Other than the psychological effects that are predominant, social media can also affect one's career. Today employers are screening potential candidate using social media by observing their activities in the various platforms that will help them know how the candidates represent themselves professionally. A fresh graduate explains how he could not secure a job because of what he later came to understand as his conduct on social media. When the student was in school, like many of his peers, he spends most of his time on Facebook interacting with his peers. His circle of connection comprised of virtual friends who seemingly were from the same age group and therefore, he was not cautious of the language he used in his posts and comments (Jonge 6). However, that was to be his greatest undoing because after the employer went through his wall on Facebook and saw posts that are as old as three years back, the conclusion was the lack professional representation.
Positive Impact of Facebook
Nonetheless, some people think Facebook has some positive effects on one's offline relations. Some individuals who are shy and cannot comfortably handle a face-to-face conversation believe that the use of social networking sites such as Facebook will help build their confidence. These are the people who can freely express themselves in writing and therefore, find the walls of Facebook a perfect forum to speak out their mind. Dr. Larry Rosen, a professor of psychology at California State University discusses the positive effect of Facebook and points out that Facebook is not entirely bad as some people's confidence is built from such platforms (Shea n.p).
Analysis of Language used in Conversations
The emotional and painful expressions of the adverse effects of Facebook to the community shows that indeed social media has a detrimental effect on individual's lives. Students, parents and clinical psychologist have shared their views and experience which gives a true picture of what they are feeling and what the community is experiencing. As such, there is no bias in the language they are using because all they share is what they have experienced or observed without any exaggeration.
From the discussion, it is clear that there are more negative effects of Facebook on the American community that the positive. Facebook has led to a strained offline relationship such that people spend most of their time on the platform rather than holding a meaningful conversation with people offline who they can encounter physically. It has affected teenagers in particular emotionally and psychologically, especially those who over-rely on Facebook for personality approval. Family ties have been broken, and children no longer trust parents to share their fears with them. For the young people who have ended up being in isolation as a result of the use of social media, loneliness has been the outcome because once they lose all the friends and family around them in pursuit of online friends, in the event where they do not get what they are looking for they become lonely. Therefore, since the negative effects exceed its positive impacts, Facebook is harmful to the American community.
Akbiyik, C. "Effect of Social Networks on Social Life of Undergraduate Student." Middle Eastern & African Journal of Educational Research 4.6 (2013): 4-10.
Jonge, G. Does Facebook improve having a satisfying social life or does it undermine our offline relations? MS thesis. University of Twente, 2016.
Marche, Stephen. "Is Facebook making us lonely?" The Atlantic 2 (2012).
Shea, Andrea. "Facebook envy: How the social network affects our self-esteem." 90.9 Wbur (2013).
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