Social media are applications, websites and computer based technologies that allow for the sharing of information, networking for careers, ideas. It is also used as a means of communication and expression of feelings. It involves the use of internet based applications, user generated content such as videos, digital photos, post and comments, social networks and virtual communities. This paper discusses the negative effects of social media, how it affects people and the society and how the negative effects can be prevented.
Some of the positive effects of social media include the opening up of communication barriers seeing as people all over the world can interact over these platforms without having to incur the heavy charges of telephone calls like before. Families get to communicate and people get to make new friends and learn about different cultures. Students can use the platforms for research and discussion on curriculum topics. Information in terms of news is passed on to people through these mediums. It has changed the way business takes place in recent times with traditional methods of marketing being replaced by the use of social media to get the message across to many people in varying places. Relationships are built by using social media both business wise and on individual levels while communication is speeded up.
Social media also has its share of negative effects that affect the society and individuals differently. There is the evidence of cyberbullying that takes place where people are bullied by their online friends and terrorized in front of others. These kinds of attacks can leave mental scars and sometimes lowers the self-esteem of those bullied sometimes even driving them to suicide. Several cases have been documented in the recent past of people who have taken their lives after not being able to handle the pressure that came with the ordeal. Some of them are young teenagers in their adolescence. The anonymity that is offered by social media serves to inhabit dark impulses of people who enjoy bullying others while hiding their true identity.
Social media used in businesses as a means of communicating with customers and marketing services and products can also lead to low productivity of employees. The social media sites provide a great distraction to employees who find themselves interacting with friends instead of carrying out the tasks required of them. Researches done show that companies sometimes lose millions when productivity reduces due to these social sites. The use of social media encourages people to be more open about their personal lives and as such overlook all the precautions that should be taken when providing information about one’s self. Information that is posted remains available to other people who can access it and know ones where about and details of their lives such as their place of residence (Strasburger et al 756). It might promote crime since people can find out where you are and sometimes even gets in the way of simple things such as job applications if images posted with bad social behavior find their way to the employer or the interviewer. Private information and photos of individuals that are needed to open profiles on these social sites might fall into the wrong hands and end up being used in illegal or demeaning contexts such as pornography sites where alterations are made on pictures to make one seem like they are doing something in real life. Degradation of health is experienced as people are now used to sitting for long hours while on these sites which interferes with blood circulation in the body and might also result in back and neck problems. Obesity is a threat as people do not exercise because of using the internet for long hours. Staring at a screen for long hours can also lead to eyesight problems.
Actions that can be taken to prevent these negative effects include the use of new technology that blocks the use of social media during work hours to increase the productivity of employees. Parents should be urged to make routine checks of their children’s use of social media to avoid any cases of them being targets of cyberbullying. When joining social media sites individuals should be encouraged to check filters before offering personal and private information about themselves that might fall into the wrong hands. People need to be aware of the negative effects of social media and encouraged not to spend too much time on it to avoid the occurrence of these negative effects. Instead, they should be encouraged to concentrate on their physical surroundings instead of technology since it poses harm to the human mind, relationships between people and even behavior of individuals.