A social networking site can be defined as an online service that is based around the building and reflecting of social relations among individuals with common interests or social ties. Social networking sites such as Friendster, LinkedIn, Spoke, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter all vary slightly, yet the one main feature they have is that they enable users to create a profile within the website to represent themselves and allows users to interact through email, instant messaging and other integrated communication channels within the site . Poke.
Poke back. Poke. Poke back. Welcome to the world of Facebook, the online community where flirting with that cute person next to you is only one click away. With more than 600 million active users, Facebook is the site's most popular social networking history. Although it may have advantages such as connecting one with friends and family, it can also have very negative effects that may be irreversible such as harming future college admission and employment, being forums sites for cyber bullying, harm children’s brains and disrupt learning.
Social networking sites help you stay in touch with your friends and allow you to meet new people. Many students spend hours each day updating their profiles, and messaging their friends by clicking on the photo albums. It's harmless fun, right? Now, how would you feel if your teachers viewed your profile? Or even an officer of the college admission? A large amount of students today don't realize the consequences of what could happen if they post something that will offend someone or will get them in trouble. Yet they still post it anyways and always lead to ruining their future.
Whether it's through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr or any other social media service, students are sharing information online with other friends and for everyone to look at. Verardi stated that “at least one college applicant was denied admission in part because of his blog on LiveJournal. The admission dean said the student's blog, which was brought to his attention, included seemingly hostile comments about certain college officials”. The other students do not think that what they do in their free time affects their schoolwork, so it should not matter what information they have online.
They may be right: You can be a good student, regardless of what you do outside of school. When the embarrassing details of your online social life for anyone searching, however, you may want to reconsider what you post. Furthermore, when someone refers to the social web, they’re speaking of websites that connects people through the World Wide Web to other individuals to share music, photos, conversation, ideas, and to meet new people. Many of the known social web sites are Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter. The social web can be very positive if it’s used for the right reason.
Social websites can provide places where youth can gain information, link with others who share the same interest, and showcase their artistic talents. “A large number of children now use the internet. In one US study, 55 percent of the children surveyed, between the ages of 12 and 17, were found to have used online social networking sites in 2007. Another study estimated that a larger 83 percent of all teenagers in the US used social networking sites in 2012” (Bill Belsey). Children gain much from these advances in technology, while also producing challenges for them.
The internet is also a gateway for people to torment and harass innocent people. Many parents consider the internet a bigger threat to their child’s safety than television. Parents are concerned with sexual predators and inappropriate content when it comes to their kids being online. Parents also need to beware of a trend going on with kids bullying other kids online. Cyber bullying is very common among teenagers, children, and preteens and occurs when one is threatened, harassed, embarrassed or humiliated with digital and interactive technologies, the internet or with mobile phones.
The methods used in cyber bullying by children are only limited to one's access to technology and imagination. Technology has opened a window for teens to take bullying from the school yards to cyberspace. With the popularity of social networking this gives bullies a place to hide, breed, and violate innocent people, sometimes ending in fatal consequences. Adolescents are becoming more vulnerable as their information becomes easier to access by others. Individuals who are being attacked are becoming depressed and are showing signs of suicidal tendencies, which in most cases are not stopped in time.
Parents, school administrators, and even communities need to become more proactive towards fighting this negative behavior, and enforce stricter rules among those who use social networks. Although Social networking sites allow an individual to interact over the internet, contacting family, friends, and helping you feel a sense of connection, they are also causing alarming changes in the brains of young users. They are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centered. Parents and teachers believe that many youngsters lack the ability to communicate or concentrate away from their screens.
This could affect their concentration and memory, as well as their ability to make decisions and set goals. It could also reduce their inhibitions and lead to ‘inappropriate’ behavior. A study has found the overuse of the internet by teenagers is causing atrophy of grey matter, leading to concentration and memory problems. Rosen (2011) says “studies found that middle school; high school and college students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15 minute study period achieved lower grades”. In social networks such as Facebook; people can choose who and who not to be friends with.
It is a very competitive environment, and it can reflect on their self-esteem which can lead to anxiety or depression. Children do not always have a sense of time management therefore, they spend more time chatting a way with friends than exercising and doing homework. Social networking has an impact on social skills of the children. The older generation learned how to communicate and interact with each other before social networks were even invented. Undoubtedly, social networking will continue to develop, evolve and grow in the number of teenager-users who will readily access such websites to communicate and discuss.
Although there are some pretty good benefits and skills that social network websites provide students. Employing these websites in classrooms can reach students in a creative way, and on a whole new level. There certainly are risks associated with social networking, including harming future college admission or employment, cyber bullying, harming children’s brain, and disrupting learning. However, there are methods to reduce these risks, including the development of safety features and alternative educational networking websites designed with student safety in mind.