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Online networking web sites have become so common in today’s generation, presenting many blessings and drawbacks. Often, it is up to individuals to decide how they want to control it and how prepared they are for the negative outcomes. More than fifty percent of Americans who are on-line frequently utilize social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social media serves to create genuine to life profiles, interact and connect with companions, do research, share ideas and opinion on a particular subject, uploads photos or music, make connections with new friends amongst many other roles. On one hand, supporters of social networking sites argue that the online communities provide simple and instant communication with friends and family worldwide. Furthermore, they believe that it enables students to improve their academic situation at school by providing access to academic research and other educational resources. It is also supposed that social media spreads information faster than any other news-media outlets. Meanwhile, those who oppose social networking argue the sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram prevent people from forming genuine physical relationships and to engage in face-to-face communication. They also think that one would waste time on pointless activity, risk personality and brain disorders in children such as ADHD, become exposed to online cyber bullying, spread hate, and act as the origin of the spread of unreliable and false information. Even though some argue that social media promotes communication with friends and family across the globe, others claim that the sites spread hate and deceitful information, tempt individuals to waste time, and prevent real communication.
Time is a valuable aspect of many individuals but social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter cause people to lose it through time wastage. Users often spend a ridiculous amount of time on it without even noticing it. For example, the ProCon website highlights that "36 percent of people surveyed listed social media as the "biggest waste of time," above fantasy sports at 25 percent, watching TV at 23 percent, and shopping rated 9 percent" (procon.org). It is undisputed that Facebook and Twitter provide entertainment for many individuals. However, they often cause addiction and in the process causes many individuals to waste their valuable time unaware of it all. It is further claimed that "When alerted to new social media activity, such as a new tweet or Facebook message, users take 20 to 25 minutes on average to return to the original task" (Dolliver). Furthermore, many students become distracted due to notifications, and they may lose interest in their school work and lack attention in class. Overall, it presents a huge challenge as it keeps people away from their busy life and work.
Similarly, Facebook and other social media outlets are fond of spreading false or deceptive stories and information. We all live in the twenty-first century where social media networks are the modern way for getting information. However, users fall prey of false or deceptive stories. Thus, even though social media networks such as twitter or facebook release information faster there is a problem of authenticity. By the same token, it is reported that "64 percent of people who use Twitter for news say that they have encountered something they "later discovered wasn't true," and 16 percent of Twitter news users say that "they had retweeted or posted a tweet they later discovered to be false" (Dolliver). Regrettably, many fake news websites incorporate their misleading titles to their bogus news to grab as much viewership as possible. Consequently, online users cannot tell if the website is legit or not and would thus read the news with no ability to determine its genuineness nd share it with friends and family. The fake news will thus spread from one person to another and its even faster when no one determines its credibility. It is reported that, "In the three months prior to the 2016 US presidential election, false news stories about the two candidates were shared a total of 37.6 million times on Facebook" (Dolliver). No doubt, Facebook plays an important role for spreading false information. Many of its users tend to not care where the information is coming from, thereby allowing people to develop the tendency of reading from the internet and believing it thoughtlessly.
It is also important to highlight that social media can also interfere with the relationships of our family. It is undisputed that spending time with the family members is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Unfortunately, the spread of social media nowadays means that it is almost impossible to find time for face-to-face communications with the rest of the family. Interestingly, the procon website claims that social media encourages face-to-face interaction, a statement that I find to be controversial. On the one hand, I agree that messaging through web-based networking media prompts face-to-face cooperation's when plans are made through the social media sites. However, I still insist that social media sites prevent real communication. According to procon website "a USC Annenberg School study found that the percentage of people reporting less face-to-face time with family in their homes rose from 8 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2011" (procon.org). A perfect case would be that of a family sitting at a table and having a nice dinner with their children and suddenly the kids pull out their fancy cell phones and are too distracted to hold any conversation at the table. The outcome is that there will be no genuine human communication between the family members. As a matter of fact, 32 percent of respondents reported using social media or texting during meals (47 percent of 18-34 year olds) instead of talking with family and friends" (Dolliver). At this point in today's society, it is undisputed that popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter rule both online and offline conversations. Many are losing the chance to interact with the people they truly love. People are so attached to Facebook and Twitter that they prefer to online communication while disregarding offline conversations. At this point, it is recommended that people limit the time used on social media and focus on spending more time engaging in real interactions with family and friends.
In conclusion, while some believe that social networking sites are beneficial to society, the reality is that the disadvantages outweigh the perceived gains. People need to be cautious about the time that they spend on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In fact, they should track the numbers of hours they spend on these sites so that they formulate limit in case they spend many hours online. Identifying priorities before using social media is also critical to ensure that they should use their time more productively. Most importantly, they need to evaluate the sources’ genuineness through research before making rash decisions. Emphasis on spending time with family is undeniable with an effective rule requiring that no one should have their cell phones on the tables during family meetings. Family members ought to interact freely with each other hence the need to put away phones during meals as it would create genuine interaction and connections. Finally, kids and social media addicts need to abandon social media lives for some time and spend quality time with their family.
Dolliver, Mark, et al. “Social Networking ProCon.org.” Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society?, 18 Aug. 2017, socialnetworking.procon.org/.
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