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Over the past 15 years, technology has introduced some revolutionary advances that have had a significant impact on how people interact, move, and do business in the world today. Technology has had a massive influence on the connectivity field. From the introduction of the radio to today's advanced smartphones, the market has recognized many technical revolutions. With the rise of the internet, a slew of networking technologies emerged, culminating in the emergence of social network communication networks such as MySpace and Facebook. The decade's high point was social media. Technology made communication more accessible than before; however, these advantages came with their fair share of disadvantages. Consequently, this important milestone began getting a significant amount of criticism from different sectors of the economy. For instance, people started associating social media with a detachment in the relationships between family members and relatives. Therefore, the paper will focus on analyzing how social media has ruined relationships.
Social media has dramatically improved communication, but this has come at an expense. Many repercussions of social media user have almost nullified its positive side. Some countries have taken these negatives facets of technology seriously that they have given social media websites and mobile applications a total blackout (Baek, Bae & Jang, 2013). Some have taken upon themselves to recreate these social media websites and applications, but with the interest of its native citizens, China is a good example. Accordingly, there is need to rectify the effects of social media by establishing measures and policies that protect teenagers and other users from exploitative nature of the internet. Failure to do so may cause the moral fabric of the contemporary society to decline to an irreversible level. Various reasons have put social media on the front row in matters regarding the current state of relationships especially among millennials, which is more of a detached, emotionless kind of relationships.
First, social media robs relationships of the human touch, which is a primary ingredient in relations. Through social media, it became possible for one to meet a complete stranger on the web and with one simple computer click; one can create the friendship attachment. The act of taking away the human touch brings about the trait of emotionless relationships where friends are viewed as statistic numerical. Thus, the higher number of friends one has the more the society perceive them to be likeable. The lack of human touch when building this institution of friendship has brought about numerous emotional disorders in the 21st-century society (Watkins, 2009). Social anxiety is one of them, where people find it very difficult to engage with each other physically.
Secondly, social media has led to a significant issue in the 21st century called the problem of privacy concerns. Individuals can build a perfect relationship based on mutual respect of each other’s privacies. However, the social media has given little attention to this significant issue in the society influenced by hacking. Hacking is a process where an unauthorized individual gets access to a social media account that does not belong to them with malicious intent. By so doing they invade the victim’s privacy and may even alter specific information of the victim or hold the victim at ransom. The privacy issue has seen some social media websites and mobile apps re-engineered to curb the menace. So how does lack of privacy ruin relationships one may ask? Everyone is eligible to privacy, and even the law states that. When an individual forcefully gains access to another person’s social media account and leak out information that is private to them, it may break some relationships that are dear to them. A good case is a couple in the United Kingdom who had a lovely adopted boy as their son. They fell prey to hackers, who made public all their documents via social media platforms. Among these records were adoption papers for the young boy. The issue made other students to bully the young boy who later committed suicide out of depression.
Relationships are built on quality time spent together physically. With busy schedules, the time spent with our loved ones is reducing drastically, and social media makes it even worse. How many times have you seen friends at a restaurant enjoying a meal without saying a single word to one another with each one head bent and eyes busy scrutinizing that small smartphone screen? Therefore, it is possible to be physically present with a friend but at the same time very distant mentally. The issue is even evident in our homes when a couple gets back from work, and each is on either a computer or smartphone. Funny enough a family may spend hundreds of dollars on vacation but will rarely physically bond because everyone is busy keeping up with what their friends are up to on Facebook. Besides, sending pictures of the vacation sites and sceneries on social media. Subsequently, social media has taken the intimacy off relationships among people. People find it is easy to speak on social media how they feel sad or depressed but challenging to talk to a friend regarding the same issue.
However, it is not all gloom for social media: the developers can institution some redemption plans by first addressing the privacy concerns raised worldwide. Facebook has been at the forefront of making sure that privacy is their number one priority. The consumers of this social media have witnessed various upgrades in matters pertaining encryption making it harder for hackers to penetrate networks that they lack the authorization. Different sensitization has also been taking place on what one is supposed to share on social media. Individuals are discouraged from sharing essential documents on social media platforms. Additionally, social media websites and mobile apps have been obligated by law to define the boundaries and any use of the subscribers’ private information and also sensitize them on some unfortunate repercussions of social media usage in the “Terms and Conditions” contractual agreement form,
The second solution is directed to the users of social media. There is need to have well-defined boundaries on when and where to use social media. If one is meeting with a long-lost friend, it would be prudent not to use social media during the meeting and give the friend your undivided attention. Also, when it is family time social media should take the back seat, and sincere talks should take priority. Families should come up with set guidelines on home social media use and adhere to them.
Finally, social media main intention during its inception was to strengthen existing relationships. Adding strangers as your friends on social media platform should be much discouraged. Social anxiety never existed in the past when people were more physically connected. Disregarding this physical contact removes the intimacy or familiarity of friendship.
In conclusion, social media has influenced our lives significantly in either positive or negative way. The society cannot shun technology but can learn how to tame it to work for the good of humanity. Individuals should approach social media as a tool for enhancing and improving our physical relationships but not as a total replacement them.
Baek, Y. M., Bae, Y., & Jang, H. (2013). Social and parasocial relationships on social network sites and their differential relationships with users' psychological well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(7), 512-517.
Watkins, S. C. (2009). The young and the digital: What the migration to social-network sites, games, and anytime, anywhere media means for our future. Beacon Press.
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