Social Media Social media is the grouping of online communication platforms dedicated to community-based input, interaction, and content-sharing. There are many different communication platforms out there, a couple being; Facebook, Instagram, and various dating apps. There is always the debate whether social media is improving or crippling communication skills. There is also always the debate whether social media has positive or negative impacts. Much of the world revolves around social media, however it is addicting and dangerous. Although social media can promote communication, it does have flaws, and can be misused, which can lead to negative impacts. Social media was created in 1997, beginning with a website called, “Six Degrees”. Hale said it was founded by Andrew Weinreich in 1996, launching the year after. According to Hale, it allowed users to create a profile and friend other users. This lasted up until 2001, when it was then sold. By the year 2000, around 100 million people had access to the internet, making it common for people to be engaged socially online. In the early 2000’s the website “MySpace”, became a popular place to create a profile and make friends. MySpace was the original social media profile website, which led to other websites such as Facebook. Now there are tons of websites and apps that support social media. Technology changes everything, including the way people receive information, that being even through social media. It also makes information extremely accessible. According to Daniel, “86% of people 18-24 years of age use at least one social media site, and 64% of people aged from 50-64 use at least one social media site”(29). That does not include the youth, however, that is only 14% of people aged from 18-24 that do not use social media. Then 36% of people aged from 50-64 that do not use social media. As seen, most people engage in social media. Technology has reshaped, and increased civic engagement, with the use of social media to help. Social media today consists of thousands of different platforms. All platforms have slightly different purposes. One example is the platform icitizen, which allows users to vote in polls about trending issues, and even elected officials can gauge public opinions to inform decisions and test new ideas. Others are like Instagram, which caters to people who like to communicate with photographs, and also Twitter, for people who like to communicate in short bursts. All these are types of social media, and all involve communication. Social media promotes communication, however, some social media platforms are misused, leading to an interference into one’s privacy. An example of this would be Ashley Madison, a dating site apparently used to sign up to cheat on their spouse with their work-related email address. Automatically there is a flaw, that being; many people got the idea their use of workplace tech is kept private. Most things are not private, including a work email. Ashley Madison’s trademark slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” That being said, most people using this platform would agree they want it all to stay private. However, that was not the case, “more than 15,000 customers had information that was leaked”(Lewis). Most, if not all customers believed they were working with a secure, and private tech. However, this was proven wrong when it was hacked. According to Lewis, “36 million records were hacked”, and even if not hacked, employers of Ashley Madison could at any time have accessed any of these email accounts. In the article Lewis wrote, it was said that “the hackers released to the public a 9.7-gigabyte data file, including personal details, financial data, and user profiles that contain sexual preferences and fantasies”. This surely destroyed marriages, harmed careers, and even subjected Ashley Madison users to blackmail and financial fraud. This obviously shows no matter what, nothing is completely private when using social media, even if stated so. Hacking is just one flaw in social media, as there are plenty of others, Social media is addicting, especially for adolescents. Adolescents are more likely to be using social media platforms such as, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram. Social media refers to not what one does, but who one is. As people often tend to post pictures, or written posts relating to themselves and their feelings. One can tell a lot about a person from what they post. Mark Griffiths and Daria Kuss stated, “Children born from the late 1990s have grown up in a world that has been reliant on technology as an essential part of their lives, making it impossible to imagine life without being connected”(49). They have a point, that being many people have become reliant on technology, and even coming to the point of addiction. As myself being born in the late 1990s, it is hard to imagine a life without technology and social media. It is felt by many teenagers, and even some adults, that they need to engage in online social networking in order not to miss out, to stay up to date, and to connect. They want to be up to date on all the lasted information, which means a lot of time is spent browsing the internet or social media. It is understandable to not want to miss out on things, however, this does not mean one should be glued to being on the internet or social media. When someone starts to not be able to stay off of their device, or social media, that is when there is a problem. Griffiths and Kuss also said, “teenagers create virtual spaces which serve their need to belong”. What they mean by this is teenagers create profiles, posting what they want, and also posting what they want other users to see. Posting pictures or messages, all is associated with likes. Some teens associate likes with the feeling to belong. Not getting enough likes can even hurt teens self-esteem, although likes should not be so important or meaningful. However, likes should not matter, or be so important to people. With or without a lot of likes, it does not matter, if it makes someone happy and they want to post it then so be it. From the need to feel belong, can lead to addiction. Social media can be addicting however, to be considered addicted to it, one would be classified as excessively using social media. This would be like someone who is constantly on their phone, when they wake up, eat, go to the bathroom, and even when driving. If one cannot stay off their phone long enough to drive, then maybe they are considered addicted. Many people know the risks of being on their phone while driving, however, people are selfish and tend to be on their phone. Whether it be taking a Snapchat to send to a friend, or looking at a post, all is selfish because it is not just your life you are risking, but others. If one cannot stay off their phone long enough to drive from point a to point b, then that would be considered addiction, because the risks are known and they still decide to be dangerous. If one is not classified as addicted, but cannot stand to not have their phone in their hand, then maybe they have Nomophobia. This is the term for “the fear of being without one’s mobile phone”(Griffiths and Kuss 51). The criteria for this phobia include: regular and time consuming use of mobile phones, feelings of anxiety when the phone is not available, “ringxiety” which is repeatedly checking one’s phone for messages even hearing calls although no one is calling, and lastly preference for mobile communication over face-to-face communication (Griffiths and Kuss 51). After reading the criteria for nomophobia, myself could relate to maybe having it, along with plenty other people. It is common for people to have their phone with them, throughout the whole day. When someone forgets their phone, they feel lost without it. People seriously do have special bonds with their phones. Mainly this phobia occurs because of the fear of not being able to engage on social platforms. Using mobile phones has led to alterations in everyday life habits, which can be associated with negative outcomes such as addiction, and Nomophobia, however these are not the only negative outcomes. Another negative outcome from social media is anxiety and depression, along with other mental health problems. An article from an educational journal had a published report of examining the positive and negative effects of social media on young people’s health. Also, including a table of social media platforms according to their impact on young people’s mental health. This survey was conducted between February 13- May 8, in 2017. The survey conducted included almost 1,500 young people, aged from 14-24. There were “14 health and wellbeing-related issues: awareness and understanding of other people’s health experiences, access to expert health information that one can trust, emotional support, anxiety, depression, loneliness, sleep, self-expression, self-identity, body image, real world relationships, community building, bullying, and lastly FoMO, which is the fear of missing out” (“Instagram Linked to”12). After the young people were given that information they ranked social media platforms. The five most popular platforms were as followed: 1. Youtube being most positive, 2. Twitter, 3. Facebook, 4. Snapchat, 5. Instagram being most negative. After taking all this information in it is seen why Snapchat and Instagram were rated the most negative platforms, as each of those platforms were very image-focused. Snapchat involves taking pictures and sending them to other people, with the twist of that there is a timer to the photo. This allows one person to send a picture to another, allowing that person to only view it for ten seconds or less, depending on what the picture taker sets the timer at. Of course this app could be misused, for all the wrong reasons. Instagram is very image-focused as well, as this app also allows for people to follow other people. This app only allows for posting images and videos, also allowing for users to interact by liking each others’ pictures or videos. As both of these are very image focused, one can only imagine the comments that go on. From nice comments to the mean, and bullying comments, both sure are involved when it comes to any social media platform, wanted or not. Another major flaw involving social media is bullying. A more familiar term called, “cyberbullying”. “Cyber Bullying is intentional and repeated harm inflicted on people through the use of computers, cellular telephones, and other electronic devices”(Cyberbullying). Cyberbullies often harass, mock, threaten, or humiliate others through electronic messages, images, or even videos. Of course bullying can occur anywhere, however, social media can allow for it to happen at any time, and even allowing the bullies to be anonymous. Bullying can occur among people of all ages, as well as cyberbullying. However, the term cyberbullying is most commonly used to describe the behaviors of school-age children, especially being teenagers. As social media has widely expanded and increased, so has cyberbullying. Instant messaging enables computer users to quickly exchange typed messages, images, or videos. Text messaging is the sending and receiving of typed messages through cellular phones. Since most devices have cameras, it has been more common to see young people using digital pictures for cyberbullying. It is very easy to whip out a device with a camera on it and record or take pictures of embarrassing situations. This is actually very common, as then later the embarrassing moment is distributed online. Cyberbullying also occurs with online video games, which has become increasingly popular over the years. As technology evolves, the forms of cyberbullying change with it. Bullying in general is difficult to deal with, however, cyberbullying can be more challenging because of its unique features. One feature is the cyberbullying victims sometimes do not know who the bully is, or even why they are being targeted. It is quite easy for cyberbullies to disguise their identity, or remain anonymous. As many websites, and online games do not require people to use their real names. That being said, it is fairly easy to use fake names. Another feature is that the hurtful actions of a cyberbully often go viral. This meaning that a large number of people can be involved in a cyberattack. It is common for this to happen, as many people can easily find out about the incident over the internet and join in. By joining in this means anyone who shares the content or adding hurtful comments of their own. Maybe the cyberbullies take this as joking or maybe not, however, the victim may feel as if the whole world is against them or in on the joke. Although just because one person does something, it does not make it okay for others to do so as well. Another problem that should be addressed is that many parents may not have the technological skills to keeps track of what their children are doing online. This can result in bullying happening be missed and the bully having no consequences. Even if cyberbullies are identified, many adults are unprepared to adequately respond. This is a problem. However, we cannot blame adults, since they have not grown up with computer technology. Since most grown adults have not grown up with this type of technology, it is not such an important lifestyle to them, as it is younger people or people who have grown up with it. Ultimately, many adults may not be able to relate to the problem of cyberbullying. The last unique feature is distance, since cyberbullying can be done from a physically far location. Although this means that the bully does not see the immediate response, also not recognizing the serious harm they are causing. Since the bully is isolated from the victim’s response, the bully does not fully understand the situation, or how hard this impacted the victim. Cyberbullying is hard to get away from, since technology and social media is everywhere. Cyberbullying is worse than bullying, as bullies do not get the full impact of how they are hurt someone. Social media comes along with risks, as well as being aware. When using social media, one must be aware of many things, a couple being; scammers and predators. “Predators wait, they lurk, and they are ready to strike” says NU YANG. Scammers and predators are commonly found throughout social media platforms. Foster says, “It is likely if you are on the internet, you probably use social media”(2). A few common scams through social media include; fake Facebook pages, Instagram money flipping, and lastly the check out this website ad. At least one of those scams have likely been seen while using social media. Fake Facebook pages are designed to look like real companies or people. They do so by stealing images, and information from actual companies or people. “The goal of these pages are to get as many likes as possible and then pull a bait and switch to direct users to a website”, says Foster (2). Foster went on to say how the website could have ads, which when clicked on, the website owner gets paid for. Clicking on an ad could lead to signing up for different offers, as a result personal information is than passed on to a scammer(2). Many people have seen this type of scam before, even if not realizing it. A common theme for these fake Facebook pages is they will be doing a giveaway, therefor they ask you to share, like, and comment on the picture of a fake vacation to Disneyland, or Airline tickets. This scam is a give away as Foster says, “Large corporations rarely do giveaways like this, and if they do it will be more in a professional manner”(2). The next scam is, Instagram money flipping. Anyone who has Instagram has most likely seen this before. This scam, however, do not just show up on Instagram, and can be done on any social media platform. Typically, this scam consists of the scammer posting a picture of them holding a wad of cash. The scammer than says something along the lines of; they are working for a company that can flip money, they will add a zero to any amount you send. This means if one person sends $200, they should get back $2000. Although most people realize this is probably a scam, scammers keep posting it in hopes to trick someone who is desperate for cash. Of course there is no magic money flipping machine, and if there was one, it would most likely not be advertised on social media. The last scam commonly seen is the, check out this website! This scam is also commonly found on Facebook, since it is so easy to disguise oneself. This scam often involves the scammer directly messaging someone, typically the scammer says they found a new awesome website. “By clicking on the link it could go one of two ways” says Foster, “it could take you to a website that aims to steal one’s information, or it could take you to a Facebook login page, which is not real. Therefore when signing in, it sends your login to the scammer”(2). This now means the scammer has gained access to the persons profile and gained access to message all of that person’s friends, claiming to be the person it really is. Most of all of these scams have been seen before, even if not knowing it was a scam, it has been seen. Most of these scams share the same goal; to get personal information. Social media can promote communication, however, it does have flaws, and when misused can lead to negative impacts. Social media is still increasing, along with addiction to it, mental health problems relating to it, and cyberbullying. When misused the invasion of privacy can occur, and this can even occur when not wanted. Technology, along with social media has even become relied on, as it is used by most people, everyday. With the use of social media, one must be aware of the risks. Risks include but are not limited to; addiction, mental health problems, cyberbullying, the invasion of privacy, and lastly scammers and predators. As seen, social media can be dangerous, and should be taken seriously. As there are problems relating to social media that should be addressed. Things go on relating to social media that should not, such as scammers and especially cyberbullying. Social media is dangerous, as everyone should realize the risks taken when engaging in social media. Works Cited”Cyberbullying.” Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, 2017, Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true=funk=CY259550=ehost-live=site.Daniel, Courtney. “How Technology Reshaped Civic Engagement”. Capitol Ideas, vol. 60, no. 4, Jul/Aug 2017, p.28-31. Periodical, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true=f5h=124285497=host-live=site.FOSTER, RYAN. “Top Three Social Media Scams.” Inside Tucson Business, vol. 25, no. 7, 18 Sept. 2015, p. 2. Periodical, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true=f5h=109953048=ehost-live=site.Griffiths, Mark D. and Daria J. Kuss. “Adolescent Social Media Addiction (Revisited).” Education & Health, vol. 35, no. 3 Sept. 2017, p.49-52. Professional Development Collection, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true=tfh=125475503=ehost-live=site.Hale, Benjamin. “The History of Social Media: Social Networking Evolution!” History Cooperative, 26 Feb. 2017, historycooperative.org/the-history-of-social-media/.”Instagram Linked To Young People’s Mental Health Problems”. Educational Journal, no.304, 23 May 2017, p.12. Academic Journal, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true=a9h=123230689=ehost-live=site.Lewis, Katherine Reynolds. “Ashley Madison Hack Shatters any Illusions of Tech Privacy at Work.” Fortune.Com, 21 Aug. 2015. Periodical, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true=bsh=109064941=ehost-live=site.NU, YANG. “BEWARE of PREDATORS! (Cover Story).” Editor & Publisher, vol. 148, no. 5, May 2015, p. 39-42. MasterFILE Premier, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true=f5h=102384956=ehost-live=site.
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