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Discussion of The Drawbacks Caused by The Proliferation of Social Networking Sites

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Social media is a websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Social media can also be presented in many different forms, including text, images, music and video. Popular networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on allow people to socialize, access to news and spread information with others locally or worldwide through computer, tablets, or easiest way via smartphones. A report from We Are social and Hootsuite show that global social media usage increased by 13% year-on-year. The existence of social media in today’s society has indeed, added many things to people’s lives, also changed many rhythms of life and living condition. Technology is a useful tool, but many people do not know how to use it appropriately, they do not know that improper use can easily produce undesirable effects. It is vital to understand the consequences that bring to the users and take the necessary precautions. This essay will discuss some of the drawbacks caused by the proliferation of social networking sites.

Most people who use social media report that it affected their self-esteem in a negative way. The study showed that the high usage of social media is resulting in lower self-esteem. Due to overwhelming amount of time spend on social media in current age; people are constantly making comparisons with others through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The upward comparisons, in wanting more materialistic things such as branded bags and cars defining a more luxurious lifestyle, make social media users have a sense of envy and jealousy in wanting the same lifestyle. Therefore, users feel less satisfied and unappreciative about their own achievements and success, even if their achievements and success are commendable ones. Users may start doubting their own capabilities and decisions which in effect have their self-esteem negatively affected. Another issue currently faced by users, especially in teenagers is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is easily more evident due to the accessibility and freedom that social media platforms offer. This occurs when a user post aggressive, embarrassing or hateful comments about other users, to have intention to intimidate, harass or shame them in the process. According to Patchin and Hinduja (2010), the self-esteem of victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying is lower than the self-esteem of victims or perpetrators who have not been threatened by the Internet. People with less self-esteem took less ‘’selfies’’ compared to people with high self-esteem. Users posting photos on Facebook and Instagram may want to seek more attention from other users to gain higher self-esteem. However this may have a negative impact if the desire outcome such as more “likes” and positive comments are not achieved. Today, people have a model image what a “perfect” body or physical facial feature is, this forces them to assess themselves and make a comparison. Even though, having “perfect” body may result in an unhealthy lifestyle due to poor diet and nutrition; people may not see or acknowledge this point.

Next, Social media has influenced all aspects of modern life and has far-reaching influence social skills and decrease the number of face-to-face interaction. Although social media provides the ability to stay connected with distant family or friends via cell phones, internet or social networking sites. But,

this also reflects the loss of people’s ability to communicate in face-to-face interactions. Subramanian (2017) research found that digitalization reduces face-to-face interactions, whether for marketing or promotional products or personal communications. Social media has made people tend to want to interact with people online instead of interacting with them personally because process is easier with the help of technology. A simpler process can make things easier and more efficient, and attract more people to try it out. Although it may be viewed as a positive change, but it will lead to people becoming more antisocial than ever before. News reported that having strong verbal and written communication skills are key to success in career. More than half of the proportions refer to the lack of physical signals and other non-linguistic cues, such as voice quality, intonation, facial expressions, etc., that people communicate through social networking sites, thereby exacerbating communication skills. Another reason why social networking sites lower people’s communication skills is because people lack the habit of listening in real-world conversations. Great communication skills need to be practiced and cannot be done by typing on a computer or mobile phone. This can only be completed through personal interaction and active communication with other people. Only time will tell what will happen with the long-term effects of this fundamental shift in communication methods. Everyone should realize that the interaction that humans already know may have changed forever.

Social media companies allow people to connect with each other like never before, but along the way they have given up the privacy and ownership of their data. We can choose to avoid these costs by slowing or avoiding progress, or we can try to mitigate risk and lessen their impact. Recently, The New York Times and The Observer of London reported that Cambridge Analytics, a political data mining and consulting company, collected and accessed private information from an estimated over 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge. Supposedly, these data were originally collected for academic purposes and were later used for advertisements and messages generated by Facebook users for President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaigned. The former Vice President of Cambridge Analytica said “They take your stuff for free. They sell it and monetise it for huge margins. That’s why the companies trade for such high valuations, then they write algorithms and control your life.” These companies rely on collecting data from users to make money by selling ads. According to Twitter, in 2017 it earned about $2.1 billion in advertising revenue (about 86% of its total revenue). For Facebook, this figure is about 39.9 billion US dollars (about 98% of its income). The problem is that these companies own your data, so users will have less control over the data in this business model. Collier and Tillman (2018) reported that U.S. Department of Justice announces prosecution of 9 Iranians who are responsible for representing the Iranian Military and conducts massive hacking against the U.S. A. Hacker doesn’t care if victim is small, he or she only cares if victims have data from which he or she can profit. The criminal activities by smartphones and internet are rapidly increasing. People nowadays rely on cloud storage, many transactions are done by Smartphone. To make the purchases online, their personal information is stored on mobile. This virtual wallet contains self-sensitive data. Cybercriminals can hack their mobile data even without their knowledge for owns benefits. Most of people emails are also connected to their other digital accounts too such as bank accounts to social networks, cloud services, or even to online shops website where most likely saved the personal information like address, credit card and so on. A hacker can easily get access to all those by simply breaching email. They know how to do that. It is important to understand how to get protected from hackers and online predators. But if people do not understand what they are protecting, then they cannot do this.

In conclusion, there are many other aspects that still not enough to make firm decisions through this essay. However, the evidence does point in one direction: Social media have different effects on people, depending on preconditions and personalities. Like the temptations of modern society such as food and gambling, excessive use of social media may be detrimental to people. In my opinion, it cannot be said that social media as a whole is a bad thing because it absolute bring some benefits to our lives. Nobody is immune to the harmful side effects social media. We have to learn to use them wisely to maximize their benefits and minimize their potential risk.

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Discussion of the Drawbacks Caused by the Proliferation of Social Networking Sites. (2019, July 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from
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