Everyone has used some form of social media platform, whether it be Instagram or Facebook, however most people do not know about the danger that lie within those social media platforms and in all forms of social networking. Most people go throughout their lives using social media without knowing about the threat that it poses to society, and how in the wrong hands social networking is detrimental to that individual and those around them. Social networking poses a threat to society because it leads to developing unfavorable habits and behaviors.
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However, some people say that social networking is beneficial because it helps with communication amongst friends and it helps to strengthen their bond of friendship. Lisa Davis, a writer for TIME explains in her article, “Does Facebook Replace Face Time or Enhance It?” that Facebook helped her reconnect with a friend and that when they met up in real life they had so many conversational topics to talk about because even though they had not seen each other in a while, they were able to keep updated about one another’s lives through social media (Davis). Their bond was strengthened via social media because they were able to stay connected with each other and able to learn about events that have happened in their lives due to them posting about it on Facebook. However, while it is true that social media allowed them to strengthen their friendship, only staying connected with each other online and rarely meeting in real life can lead to detrimental effects such as isolationism. “Since people are now connected all the time and you can pull up a friend's social profile with a click of your mouse or a tap of your smartphone,” writer Elise Moreau explains, “it's a lot easier to use online interaction as a substitute for face-to-face interaction” (Moreau). Social networking can lead to antisocial behaviors and since staying connected with friends is so easy nowadays, someone does not even need to leave the comfort of their own home to interact with a friend.
Social networking poses a threat to society because it encourages sedentary lifestyle habits. In her article titled “The Pros and Cons of Social Networking,” writer Elise Moreau illustrates that “since social networking is all done on some sort of computer or mobile device, it can sometimes promote too much sitting down in one spot for too long” (Moreau). She draws out the compelling fact that social networking is used on devices that are mainly utilized when a person is sitting or lying down. This type of behavior when repeated can lead to developing a sedentary lifestyle and creating a continuous habit of laziness. To prove this point even further, Lady Greenfield, a professor at Lincoln College discusses the sedentary effect that social networking has on a child. "a child confined to the home every evening may find at the keyboard the kind of freedom of interaction and communication that earlier generations took for granted in the three-dimensional world of the street,” she blatantly points out, “But even given a choice, screen life can still be more appealing” (Wintour). People find all the luxuries of the outside world on their screens at home, leading to reduced movement because they do not even need to leave their desks to have a connection with the world around them. While it is true that social networking encourages sedentary lifestyle habits, it is equally true that social networking can encourage people to be hateful.
Social networking poses a threat to society because it gives people a license to be hateful. Conversing online through screens can desensitize people to the fact that the people they are talking to online are real human beings with emotions. “I’m disappointed whenever I hear about social media being used as a way to hurt people,” says a 10th Grader that was interviewed by a psychologist, “I wonder if this happens when the writers forget that there are real people behind the screen” (Price-Mitchell). Socializing via social media can cause people to have a lack of emotional connection because they are not actually conversing face-to-face; sadly, this is why cyberbullies feel as if they can get away with being toxic online. Additionally, cyberbullying is a destructive and dangerous behavior that many teens and even adults partake in, but they do not fully understand the consequences that come with their vile actions. In a clinical report written by a group of pediatricians, they reveal that “cyberbullying is quite common, can occur to any young person online, and can cause profound psychosocial outcomes including depression, anxiety, severe isolation, and, tragically, suicide” (O’Keeffe, et al.). Cyberbullying has long-term damaging affects on the psyche of the victim, and the ones who are doing the bullying do not even take that into consideration. People are desensitized online because there is a lack of face-to-face human connection, they hide behind a screen and unleash a deadly array of negativity that damages a person’s mental health and can ultimately lead to their death. Social networking poses a threat to society because of the license that it gives to people to be hateful, and their hate fuels the suicide rate among teens who have been victims of cyberbullying.
Social networking poses a threat to society because it provides various avenues for online predators. Accessibility to children and child pornography on the internet is sadly not a difficult thing to do, all they would have to do is access unmonitored chat rooms such as Omegle and they could easily find children to manipulate and control for their own twisted benefits. For some people, an internet ‘relationship’ is not enough, many predators will try and persuade a willing child to meet them in real life. Ernie Allen, President & CEO, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, explains that “Predators are hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet to target kids, to entice kids online–to try to persuade them to meet them in the physical world” (Allen). The internet is not a safe place for children as predators will stop at nothing to gain access to them, parents should always be monitoring their children’s screen time and should apply the proper content blocking devices to their computers for additional protection. Furthermore, ABC News covered a story about men who were prosecuted for being child predators, these men would use social games like Fortnite and Minecraft or they would use social networking sites such as Discord, Grindr and Tinder to prey on their victims. With many social media apps and games at their disposal, it makes preying upon their victims much easier than ever before. Social networking is a threat to society because of the various tools that predators can utilize to prey on innocent, unsuspecting children.
Social networking poses a risk to society because of the various ways that minors get involved in sexual tendencies. The distribution of explicit photography by minors is a serious dilemma that society faces, not only is it morally wrong but it is also illegal. Pediatricians from the American Academy of Pediatrics say that teens who have engaged in online sexual activity have been criminalized for their promiscuous behaviors and they have also been suspended from school and some feel emotionally distressed (O’Keeffe, et al.). Online sexual activity as performed by minors is sadly very common and many people overlook the laws that restrict them from engaging in such vulgar activities. Sharing explicit photos online is very risky because a person never knows whose hand’s they may fall into. Linda Searing, a journalist for The Washington Post states that, “The study’s authors warned that sexts, especially ones seen by people other than the intended recipient, could lead to harassment and cyberbullying — perhaps even sexual assault and suicide” (Searing). If it falls into the wrong hands, a nude photo of someone can be used to degrade and taunt a person causing them to go over the edge and possibly even take their life. Social networking is a threat to society because the promiscuous behaviors of an individual can haunt and ruin their future, possibly causing them to not even have a future.
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Social media has played an important role on the lives on everyone in the past fifteen years, and now people cannot seem to remember a time where social media was not an everyday present force. Most people go throughout their lives not knowing of the dangers that lie within various social media platforms. Social networking poses a threat to society because it encourages unfavorable habits and despicable behaviors. Social media can encourage sedentary lifestyle habits where people become glued to their screens and cannot function without them. Social media can also allow people to taunt and bully other people by providing various avenues for them to be hurtful. Furthermore, it can also lead to predators finding children online to satisfy and fulfill their twisted needs. Social media can be a blessing sometimes, but the evil of it cannot be overlooked and when people only focus on the relaxation that it gives them it makes them become an easy target for the threats to make an appearance in their own lives.
- Goldberg Goff, Karen. “Social Networking Benefits Validated.” The Washington Times, The Washington Times, 28 Jan. 2009.
- Moreau, Elise. “The Good and the Bad About Social Networking.” Lifewire, Lifewire, 8 Nov. 2019.
- Price-Mitchell, Marilyn. “Teens Discuss Disadvantages of Social Networking.” Roots of Action. 16 Jun. 2014.
- O'Keeffe, Gwenn et al. “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Apr. 2011.
- Selin Davis, Lisa. “Does Facebook Replace Face Time or Enhance It?” Time, Time Inc., 18 Jan. 2009.
- Wintour, Patrick. “Facebook Et Al Risk 'Infantilising' the Human Mind.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 24 Feb. 2009.
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