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Are friendships with real meaning needed? Should social media be distracting me from doing my homework? Do I really need to interact with my family all the time? These are all questions no one would choose to ask. Social media is a distraction to daily life and takes any information a person may have given to a deep part of the internet, called the “dark web”. People have become susceptible to identity theft once personal information is willingly released. As for distractions in daily life, people have preoccupied their time for important work with checking statuses on specific social media applications. Not only is time being consumed by the usage of social media, but interactions and communications on a face-to-face basis are lacking. Social media is not beneficial for adolescents because it consumes an abundance of their attention, too much personal information is given, and face-to-face interactions are forgotten.
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Adolescence is the age of growth and maturity, the age that is getting prepared for reality after high school, and the age that is being taught to use resources online using electronic devices. Being resourceful online for educational purposes is a good reason for adolescents to be online, but students are bound to get distracted by social media notifications. “With the touch of your fingertips, you can post a question to your social sites asking others for ideas rather than using our own imagination and thought process to generate an idea” (Falcon 1). In other words, social media is an interruption to how the mind processes its own ideas. Social sites are not just distracting teenagers in classrooms or halls of the school, but at home as well. Students tend to use social media most at home, to procrastinate from doing important schoolwork. “Social Networking makes life so convenient that it creates laziness” (Price-Mitchell 1). Being active on social media is not only an issue for adolescents, but is a concern for grown, working adults. “When employees spend more time checking the social networking site to see what friends have posted or post themselves work productivity has been shown to drop” (“PSYCH 424 Blog” 1). The usage of electronic devices is ingenious for educational and work purposes but becomes an issue when students’ and employees’ attention is taken by social media applications on mobile devices.
In social media applications, the settings may give the option to turn “location services” on or off. Adolescents have already shared too much information if the location setting is turned on. Vulnerability to stalking, robbery, and identity theft has increased once a photo is posted and a location is within it (“PSYCH 424 Blog” 1). “Other risks of extensive social networking among youth are a loss of privacy, sharing too much information, and disconnect from reality” (Ramasubbu 1). Giving location on pictures is an example of losing one’s privacy in a social media account. In addition, too much information could be shared if users are not cautious of what is put in the biography section of a profile page. Furthermore, users may have a disconnection from reality, in which one is consumed by the internet and time is spent there more than communication on a face-to-face basis. According to Suren Ramasubbu, “difficulty [with] self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure make adolescents vulnerable to such evils [that] are realistic threats” (1). Adolescents that have issues controlling emotions and personal biographies on social sites are vulnerable to judgmental comments from peers. Teenagers who release photos on a profile are releasing information when a description is added, and the location is shown after it is posted. Regardless of how a teenager may feel after a picture is posted, there is still a lack of privacy within social media.
Social media also allows for people to have communication over direct messaging. In saying this, teenagers are over-using this aspect of social media, creating online relationships and forgetting how to communicate with peers. “Opponents of social networking argue that such sites are not beneficial overall and that they gradually erode many essential aspects of communication and socialization” (“Social Media: Does” 1). The utilization of communication over social networking allows adolescents to disclose information without feeling anything about it. In addition, it also creates for miscommunication among peers during in-real-life interactions. Since text messaging does not convey feelings to the receiving end, people on the receiving end can confuse what the message means. In such, relying on computers “could hurt a person’s ability to have a face-to-face conversation by making it awkward and unusual to hear something and respond with a thoughtful message through the spoken word because of one’s dependence on a keyboard to convey a message” (Price-Mitchell 1). Adolescents are so consumed and occupied by communicating online that face-to-face interactions are greatly lacking. There are advantages to socializing in person, one being the ability to hear laughter from a peer. Talking on a face-to-face basis allows for one’s senses to be drawn out clearly rather than miscommunicating what a sender and a receiver are trying to convey in a message. “Social media is removing these very human qualities of communication by eliminating the need to get out and socialize with others in person” (Falcon 1). Face-to-face interactions should not be forgotten, as pulling out senses through socializing with peers and/or others is an excellent quality for a conversation.
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Without social media, face-to-face interactions would be remembered, attention would be brought to more relevant events, and personal information would stay confidential. A quality of conversation would be re-established, as well. There are advantages to utilizing social media, such as communicating with large groups of people for meet-ups, advertising ideas, and much more. Social media should not be removed or diminished from society but instead, it’s used should be limited. Parents of young adolescents should be encouraged to limit usage of social media by restricting it during family gatherings and after certain hours. Parents also need to encourage and teach teenagers the importance of face-to-face communications with friends and adults. Miscommunication would not occur if face-to-face interactions were still relevant to some people. Susceptibility to consequences of sharing personal information would decrease is the uses of social networking sites decreased, as well. Finally, our attention would gravitate to important relationships and work that was procrastinated or distracted by usage of social media.
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