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Is Digital Connectedness Good or Bad?

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Globalization has influenced technological innovation in today's world. Technology has significantly altered and enhanced the way people learn and interact with one another. The spread of immersive multimedia devices can be traced back to the 1980s when Nokia and other technology companies began liberating products such as personal computers, video games, and computer-oriented networking structures such as CompuServe and Prodigy. Because with the introduction of the wide world web in the early 1990s, the internet expanded significantly. The establishment of social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp has further increased the adaptations of digital communication (McMillan and Morrison 74). Social website illustrate some of the facts about the global usage of the internet which includes 100,000 tweets which are sent almost every minute of the day, 684,478 Facebook sharings, two million searches on Google every minute. Also, YouTube uploads contain approximately 48 hours of contents, 47,000 applications downloads from the play store, 3,600 photos are pooled on Instagram, and 571 websites are created every minute in a day. Digital connectedness which comprises of the social network, E-Mail, blog posts have raised some serious issues globally. Being connected means that any person can access your information very easily. People are spending a lot of time online which has impacted education, the job market and lifestyle (Csorba ans Slaney). The disadvantages of digital communication outweigh the benefits because of issues such as private invasion, cyber bullying, lacking communication levels, rising competition, and copyright issues.

Digital communication has threatened the privacy of the users across the world. Privacy is a personal state of life that is categorized by the exclusion from publicity. Confidentiality should be viewed as a natural right which offers a foundation for the legal rights. Every country has a privacy law under their jurisdiction (Cohen pg. 5). In the United States, the right to privacy is advocated for in several legislative forms such as the Privacy Act (1974). Digital technology and communication have a first impact on the collection, storage and retrieval and dissemination of information. The central ethical question comes forward in the accessibility and the use of such private information. The social platforms such as Facebook and twitter collect personal information of the users and store them in the databases. Even though these platforms have guaranteed the privacy of such information, a number of them still find their way into the hands of the third parties.

By implication, it becomes easier for a third party to access information stored in an electronic format. However, exclusion is by the use of high-security procedures for example passwords. The effects of digital technology and communication on the privacy of individuals are apparent in a variety of areas including, first the digital monitoring of employees in the workplaces. Most companies acquire personal information of their employees by searching them through the social media where they get their information, and this can be done by the use of spyware software. Privacy in the workplace has been threatened by the use of digital platforms. Second, merging of the database that contains the personal information of people also called data banking, the problem with data banking is that many users or clients are not aware that their information has been merged into one central database. This can affect their privacy because most people can easily find that information. Third, hackers and crackers can break into a computer system using spyware and steal personal information of certain individuals and use them for their benefits. On personal effects, a threat to privacy affects the dignity and freedom of people (Cohen, par. 3).

Cyber bullying, a norm that has been potentially increased by electronic communication has changed many lives especially the youths. However, as Tobak illustrates, cyber bullying has also found its way into adults lives in work places or at home (20). Many people have resorted to the acquisition of many followers in order to outdo the other person this brings about jealousy or an incident closure to it (Lee and Kim, pg. 15). Cyber bullying has impacted several adverse effects on the victims both physical, and psychological (“The Dangers of Cyberbullying.” pg. 14). There are many incidences of suicide, depression, and stress reported by various news platforms such as television, those incidences have been on the rise. Traditionally, cyber bullying involves covert or overt verbal, relational and physical aggression.

Many campaign and awareness including The Big March have been organized by different institutions to help in managing crimes over the internet. The Big March is the first global effort to launch a child’s right protection on cyber bullying (Csorba ans Slaney). Digital communication has adopted both the traditional forms of bullying in addition to digital longevity which involves mostly affecting the victims emotionally which can bring about fatal instincts and thoughts. A negative comment on social media can be viewed by many people across the world who can respond negatively to the same affecting the life of the victim. Statistics show that girls are more prevalent to cyber bullying than boys. 16.1 % of girls aged between 12 and 14 have experienced incidences of bullying over the electronic media as compared to 10.3% of the boys. Bullying is evident in a wide scope since there is lacking digital world responsibility among the users. Digital connectedness allows people to partake more through communications and interactions; it also makes life much easier however many people have resorted to criminal activities which include cyber bullying (Slaney, Noa, and Emerson, pg. 20). Parents and guardians have responded to the cyber bullying activities online actively by reporting the incidences to authorities and the concerned individuals. For instance "95% of parent respondents told BullyingUK that bullying took place in school, with 83.2% identified as name calling, 66% as physical bullying and 68.1% social bullying" (Waal pg. 9).

Digital technology has revolutionized the way individuals communicate, associating people across the globe; however, it has changed communication in several ways which are seen to be lacking many aspects. Many people have found refuge on their phones which they use to communicate anywhere and everywhere. Reports show that many incidences of injuries, accidents, and deaths are caused by distractions created by mobile phones when using them to chat with friends, or rather just communicate. The use of instant messages has reduced people to their slaves where a person can walk or drive at the same time texting resulting into fatal accidents. Moreover, the rise in digital connectedness induced the emergence of dark net –‘a place to spread isead without sponsorship, a place to sate out curioisities and desires, whatever the may be”, which puts the social securityof the whole world under risk. (Bartlett 13)

Digital technology has also affected the quality of communication between individuals. Interpersonal communications have significantly evolved over the decades and have also grown digitally. Digital communication has changed an individual’s identity and lifestyle. The use of mobile devices has been approved to be causing psychological effects to individuals such as depression, loneliness, and lack of sleep. The today’s generation has adopted a new style of interpersonal communication. Networking online has led people to abandon the more efficient traditional form communication of face to face to a digital form where an individual is not even aware of the other party (Csorba ans Slaney pg. 30). The tendency has weakened ties between people; people never feel personally connected to the people at the other end while connecting online as compared to face to face communication. People get over confident when communicating online than when they are doing so face to face, hence creating a personality that is not their own. The majority of electronic device users have admitted that the quality of their conversations has been degraded since the introduction of digital communication platforms, a number could not hold a decent conversation of ten minutes without responding to texts or calls from on their mobile phones.

Digital communication has affected the academic performance of students especially in high school, colleges, and universities. Students have substantially become victims of social media more than any other group because they use the platforms to kill boredom during their studies. Some of the adverse effects of digital communication using smartphones, computers, and tablets include, multitasking; social media is very addictive hence once a student has become engaged, they resort to multitasking while studying. This reduces their academic performance and concentration abilities in classrooms. Secondly, social media waste the precious time that the students could have used for studies. Students spend too much time communicating online instead of doing their homework or assignments. Procrastination to academic studies is positively related to time spent on the student’s online networking. The students are likely to be late to classes, fail to meet deadlines and also rush in doing the academic work. Students who spend a lot of time online are likely to perform poorly with lower grades as compared to students who spend less time online (Slaney, Noa, and Emerson 25). Businesses who have resorted to the use of online networking to find and communicate with clients have realized that the platforms have been forms of destructions to employees. Many employees use the internet to contact friends instead of working.

Digital technology has binary effects on the ethnic identity of the youths and the young generation; it can either enhance or divert cultural values on individuals. According to various observers, the youths are being affected by the privatization of the media in an environment with a variety of social platforms. (Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe 53) Stated that a range of youths and young people use their electronic gadgets in the privacy of their rooms. The youths are also known to use the devices without the supervision of their parents or guardians hence many parents have been challenged on how to teach their children cultural ideals. The youths have become independent on their peers, and social media instead of the parents. Many youths have identified themselves with heroes and celebrities they watch on the media. However, the stars and the celebrities have had negative influences on the youths and the young generation. For instance, secular musicians depict the glamor in smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse. Those media also portray women as sexual objects. This has also raised the ideas of competition where several youths and bloggers posts contents that are erotic to gain more followers (Research Paper Proposal: Digital Connectedness is good or bad). Alcoholism and substance abuse have been an adverse problem in the 21st century (Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe.50)

Copyright issues over the internet have been an increasing dilemma over the decade. “Nowadays, music, sport and culture spread easily across the globe." (Research Paper Proposal: Digital Connectedness is good or bad). Many internet users have sorted to using materials that have no copyrights or patents. It is challenging to search who uploaded the video or music without copyrights. Many artists, musicians, and writers have lost a lot of money when users download materials from the internet without paying for them. In the education sector, many materials are used for teaching and research without the owner’s permission. Additionally, many materials found themselves on the internet without the owner’s permission. Currently, most blatant copyright –infringing activity on the web is sharing music, movies or software. The music industries and software developers have increasingly pursued those downloading their materials in file sharing platforms, for example, peer to peer networks. Many lawsuits have been tabled in the united and across the world to reduce the incidences.

Even though there are several adverse effects of digital connectedness, there are many advantages too. According to Slaney, Noa, and Emerson (pg 4), social media view at the societal level, is beneficial tool since it can be used to address the current issues happening around the world. The authors used an example of an online campaign called ‘The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’ that raise a substantial amount money, tech developers such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg participated in the process. The social media created a platform for the campaign which made it realize its success. People with communication anxieties can utilize social media to improve their communication skills. However, this is not guaranteed (Csorba ans Slaney). Digital platforms have provided means of effective communication with friends and colleagues from different geographical regions. Secondly, Several scientists have indicated that the use of social media and digital platforms can dictate the way the brain functions this include improved complex reasoning critical thinking and ability to solve problems.

In conclusion, digital connectedness has impacted the lives of people across the world. The technology has connected people, but the behaviors of people have increasingly changed. It’s hard to gauge the magnitude of both importance and disadvantages of electronic media, many people are in between the two, however as discussed above, the degree of the adverse effects outweighs the benefits.

Works Cited

“The Dangers of Cyberbullying.” The Dangers of Cyberbullying | PureSight | Cyberbullying, PureSight, www.puresight.com/Cyberbullying/the-dangers-of-cyber-bullying.html. Accessed 09 Aug. 2017.

Bartlett, Jamie. The Dark Net: inside the Digital Underworld. Melville House, 2016.

Cohen, Sam. “Privacy Risk with Social Media.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 Nov. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-cohen/privacy-risk-with-social-_b_13006700.html.

Csorba, Emerson, and Noa G. Slaney. “Is Digital Connectedness Good or Bad for People?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 Nov. 2016, www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/11/28/is-digital-connectedness-good-or-bad-people.

Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe, Carol. “The Benefits of Facebook “Friends”: Social Capital and College Students’ Use of Online Social Network Sites.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Jul. 2007, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 134-165.

Lee, So-Hyun, and Hee-Woong Kim. “Why People Post Benevolent and Malicious Comments Online.” Communications of the ACM, vol. 58, no. 11, Nov. 2015, pp. 74–79. 10.1145/2739042, cacm.acm.org/magazines/2015/11/193324-why-people-post-benevolent-and-malicious-comments-online/abstract.

McMillan, Sally J., and Margaret Morrison. “A Qualitative Exploration of How the Internet Has Become an Integral Part of Young People’s Lives.” , Coming of Age with the Internet, vol. 8, no. 1, 1 Feb. 2006, doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444806059871.

Tobak, Steve. “Confessions of a Social Media Outcast.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 16 Aug. 2012, www.cbsnews.com/news/confessions-of-a-social-media-outcast/. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017

Waal, Anastasia de. “Cyberbully: It's Becoming a Bigger Problem than Ever, so What Can Be Done about Online Bullying?” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 9 Oct. 2015, www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/cyberbullying-what-to-do-9983103.html. Accessed 10 Aug. 2017

November 11, 2021
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