Last week I posted about the positive effects of social media. This week I will continue with negative effects.
The first and foremost negative effect that comes to my mind is the lack of privacy. Although social media sites today offer a high level of security options, it is possible for a determined person to find out several personal details. The social media sites constantly keep updating their security measures and as a result of which users need to constantly update their settings or be vulnerable to privacy exposure. According to a recent study conducted by Northeastern University and Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, determined people could easily figure personal choices and attributes of a person just from their friend’s list.
Lack of privacy then leads to security concerns and possibility of Identity theft. When information such as name, birth date, address, mother’s maiden name, children’s name, pets etc is available to all then users are basically calling for trouble. People don’t realize how important this information is. On top of this people like to check in from various locations….for example an update like “Off for my vacation to Las Vegas!!!…Excited” clearly reads my house is empty for few days. You might as well put up a board outside your house announcing “I am not at home”!!!! This is a clear invitation for thieves and people who have ill intentions.
Teenagers who get introduced with social media sites for the first time often go a little crazy. My 13 year old niece started using facebook last year and in a month she had over 500 friends. On asking if she knew all these people from school she answered “ No not really….some are friends of friends…I just accept all friends request I get as it looks cool if you have more friends”. So in short the more friends you have on facebook makes you more popular in school. As a result of which they randomly accept all the friends request they get even if they may not know those people. This now leads into dangerous territory as we all have read about cases when child abusers portray to be someone else to gain a child’s trust and then misuse it.
Social media sometimes has a major impact on person’s character. One racy photo or status update can forever make or break a person’s character with family and friends. Recently we have heard so many times in the news that some or the other politician/businessman has had to step down from his post due to some racy pictures they posted in moment of weakness. While it may be good thing in certain cases, if it happens to teenagers they may get scarred for life. We have also heard how some videos or pictures of teenagers go viral on social media sites and how it mentally hurts everybody involved. Sometimes social peer pressure also leads teenagers to publish photos and videos which they normally would not normally do so.
There is still discussion on whether social media is becoming an addiction. Research has shown that rise in social media is directly correlated to adverse reactions health. Being online most of the time has taken people away from going out to communicate and keeping in touch. When I was young, in every free moment I would find a chance to play sports with my friends. Now I hardly see teenagers active. Everywhere I go all I see is they are either texting or tweeting or facebooking. The following infographic from schools.com nicely sums up how “socially awkward” social media has made us.
In the end, no matter the adverse affects…Social media is here to stay. All we can do is educate ourselves and children on the adverse effects of Social media along with the positive effects.