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While social media allows people to communicate on an electronic medium, it has been linked to negative effects on interpersonal relationships. The paper would expand on the subject by offering alternative theories for the effects of social media on interpersonal relationships. Credible academic sources can be used to provide data for the arguments that social media has a negative impact on social circles (Fox, Jesse, & Moreland, 2015). I believe that social media has had a negative impact on interpersonal relationships and has taken the place of social gatherings where people could literally meet and exchange thoughts, details, and crack fun jokes. The paper will provide arguments to support the idea that social media has an impact on our interpersonal relationships. Besides, an objection will be put forward to show that social media can have some positive impact on interpersonal relationships. Social media offers a good platform for people to interact regardless of geographical distance, but it affects interpersonal relationships in a negative manner.
Social media provides a fabricated sense of connection that is barely dependable amongst friends. Having many friends on a social site makes a person feel that they are well-connected. Getting many and at times impromptu replies over social media posts give a false feeling of importance. Good responses from friends on a social media site make and individual feel that they are supported by friends. However, the feeling of connection is false and the support from friends on social networking site is not dependable. The main reason as to why it is difficult for social media friends to depend on one another is due to the little trust between them. People who have met on a social media do not know the background information of each other, and hence it becomes difficult for them to trust one another (Frison & Eggermont, 2016). Most of the relationships happening over the social media are superficial since most people do not like the idea of sharing personal information via a social media site. The social media does not provide a good platform to share personal and confidential information with friends and for this reason, people often maintain casual relationships. Friends spend so much time on the social media sites that they lack the time to meet physically. Interpersonal relationship relies on the personal connection created when people spend time together. However, this connection between friends weakens when they do not often meet to share. It is clear that social media does not support mutual relationships between friends but promotes casual relationships (Frison & Eggermont, 2016). Also, it is difficult to establish trust with online friends and therefore it becomes difficult for them to depend on one another in times of need.
Another negative effect of social media is the infringement of privacy it causes. The social media platform is not secure and information shared to friends can be viewed by many others. Even the confidential messages are not safe since they can be viewed by an unintended person. People value their personal information and treat it in a confidential way. At times friends would wish to share important information amongst themselves via the social media. However, they are always worried that the information they are sharing might land into wrong hands. Another friend in the same social media may find the confidential information being shared and broadcast it to other users. The shared information may have an impact on the life of the person who came up with it (Fox, Jesse, & Moreland, 2015). For instance, information about a possible corruption scandal shared by an employee to a friend over the social media but is mistakenly seen by another user of the site who chooses to share it with others. Through sharing the information may eventually reach the employer involved in the scandal and upon investigation finds the employee who originated with the information. The disclosure of the leaked information cost the employee his/her job. The ability to view information on social media depends on the privileges granted to the user by the administrator of the site. Also, the privacy of the information depends on the effectiveness of the security systems installed in the servers managing the social media website. A bug planted in the website's server may expose very confidential information of the users and such situations are a big embarrassment. Besides, failure of the information systems supporting the social media site might lead to a compromise of the user's information. For instance, site passwords, bank accounts, credit cards, and other sensitive information may be exposed in the event where security of the social media site is sabotaged. Due to the fear of losing sensitive information, friends choose to discuss trivial information and unimportant data over the social media sites. Even people who have been close friends fear to discuss sensitive information via the social media sites. It is clear that social media creates a situation where friends cannot share with each other important or confidential information for purposes of Cybersecurity (Frison & Eggermont, 2016). The kind of fear of compromised confidentiality negatively affects interpersonal relationships amongst friends. Social media is faced with Cybersecurity challenges and this makes friends nervous while interacting with social media sites. It can be asserted that social media negatively affects the interpersonal relationships due to the aspect of confidentiality of shared information.
Social media is known to affect the emotions and psychology of its users. The effect is often through association with friends who have challenges with the management of their emotions and psychology. Various studies have established that a person who befriends another who has psychological and emotional problems is likely to suffer from the same problems too (Oh, Ozkaya, & LaRose, 2014). Social media provides the opportunity to connect with as many friends as possible, and it is likely for a friend to have colleagues with some psychological and emotional problems in his/her circles. Through sharing of information, a friend with psychological challenges is likely to share sorrowful information with other friends. Through association, other friends who share with the psychologically challenged person are likely to suffer from the same problems. Besides, social media allows friends to check accounts of other users who are their friends too. Posts and statements made by a user can be seen by other users who have been linked as friends. Scrolling through the timeline of the social media platform such as Facebook gives the opportunity to view what others posted online. Viewing posts that depict hopelessness and show emotional disturbance may affect the user in a negative manner. It is possible to become emotionally troubled and psychologically disturbed after reading messages from a person with similar challenges. Disturbing images and photographs shared via the social media amongst the users can cause psychological problems to the viewer (Oh, Ozkaya, & LaRose, 2014). Social media can negatively impact interpersonal relationships between people through affecting their emotional and psychological well-being.
According to a study carried out by Frison and Eggermont (2016), spending too much time on the social media sites negatively affects the interrelationship between friends. The research found out that the perceived online support from friends on social networking sites turns out to be false and is not dependable. Another study carried out by Fox, Jesser and Moreland (2015) showed the relationship between the amount of time spend on the social media site and the level of stress for the particular individual (Fox, Jesse, & Moreland, 2015). The users who spend a lot of time on the social media platforms interacting with their friends are likely to exhibit poor social interactions. The false sense of belonging associated with social media sites is likely to convince a user that they do not need more friends since they have many on the social media site. Viewing graphic images that are inappropriate and disturbing is likely to affect the psychological well-being of the user. Lack of support by the online community may make the user have stress-related challenges. Rejection on social media site can affect the psychological well-being of the user (Fox, Jesse, & Moreland, 2015). Social media is associated with various challenges that affect the user relations in a negative way.
However, the objection to the topic is that as much as social media social media connects friends and enables them to share information. It is a positive impact on the interpersonal relationship that friends are able to relate with one another, share ideas, and engage in discussions via the social media sites. Discussions made by friends via the social media can yield useful tips on the topics of discussion, and act as a unifying factor amongst the friends in common groups. Sharing increases the bond between one user and another, and therefore strengthens the interpersonal relationship between them. Sometimes social media users engage in open forums where they speak openly of the subject matter. These forums help the users become free with one another and provide information that is relevant to the lives of others. Other times members of a social media discussion group offer solutions of challenges facing their colleagues (Oh, Ozkaya, & LaRose, 2014). Through social media, friends are able to assist one another by providing the required information and discussing it through to reach a constructive conclusion. Therefore, it can be said that social media helps in the development of interpersonal relationships amongst the users.
In conclusion, it can be asserted that social media provides a platform for friends to interact and form connections with one another. The positive impact of social media is the ability to share information and hold discussion groups amongst the users. The discussion groups and open forums help on social media platforms turn out to be useful in providing information relevant to its users. Despite the advantages, social media has numerous impacts on interpersonal relationships. The privacy of the information and data shared via social media platforms is not guaranteed since the systems can fail or be hacked by an attacker. Besides, sharing of disturbing images and illicit information affects the emotional and psychological well-being of the social media users. Also, social media connections give false sense of connection to its users. The alleged connections are often casual and are not dependable. The disadvantages presented by the use of social media platforms supersedes the advantages and therefore it can be asserted that social media affects negatively the interpersonal relationships.
Fox, Jesse, and Jennifer J. Moreland. "The dark side of social networking sites: An exploration of the relational and psychological stressors associated with Facebook use and affordances." Computers in Human Behavior 45 (2015): 168-176.
Frison, E., & Eggermont, S. (2016). Exploring the relationships between different types of Facebook use, perceived online social support, and adolescents’ depressed mood. Social Science Computer Review, 34(2), 153-171.
Oh, H. J., Ozkaya, E., & LaRose, R. (2014). How does online social networking enhance life satisfaction? The relationships among online supportive interaction, affect, perceived social support, sense of community, and life satisfaction. Computers in Human Behavior, 30, 69-78.
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