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As we know that everything in this world has pro and con. This is the same as social media. Social media not only brings positive effects, but also brings negative impacts to us on social interaction. One of the negative effects of social media being discussed in this essay, is false sense of connectivity, which heavily impacts social interaction. Sometimes, we can witness a group of friends gather together but barely talking with each other or everyone is busy looking at their smartphone rather than speaking to their friends which are in front of them. These are common scenario that we can find everywhere we go and also known as plugged-in life. According to findings, it is stated that an “overwhelming 92% of respondents believed technology negatively affects face-to-face communication, and only 1% did not. Only 7% of respondents neither agreed nor disagreed,” and that almost “73% of students in the dining hall used their phones rather than speaking to one another”. It is clearly proved that social networking is gradually taking powerful control over us.
Nowadays, there are less real-life conversations and face-to-face interaction among humans as we often communicate with each other through social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and so on. People are more likely to build relationship online and drifting away from the real world into virtual world. People used to clean up complicated and messy human relationships with technology. By doing this, we are giving up on the essential using of verbal and non-verbal communication in online socialization. This results in weak understanding in these communications that leads to a lack of ability to connect with each other. Hence, it reduces our ability to strengthen meaningful relationships in the real world.
Phoon (2017) in his essay explains why social media is bad for people’s communication as it “has robbed people’s ability to find trust and comfort in one another, replacing our need for warm, supportive interaction and fellowship with a virtual, hollow connection”. Most people will just depend on their virtual friends on social media instead of sharing with the friends who are always beside them. While social media has many positives influences, it also “robs us from self-control and from the ability to think independently and instead makes us gullible to join any group that posts perverse messages that tickle our ear and amuse our senses without evaluating the consequences”. It is also claimed that, “ironically, social media is in effect turning us into one of the most antisocial generations”.
Through social media, we can express our recent feelings or share recent conditions by post pictures or type in words. Everyone has their freedom to comment on anyone posts and some of them misused social media by attacking other people with harsh comments. This will definitely lead to cyberbullying and cyber harassment. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that is only done through the web and other technologies. Children and teenagers are vulnerable to cyberbullying since the different social media platforms are easily to be accessed by anyone. With so many children and teenagers are using social media nowadays, they are easily become target of cyberbullying.
“The destruction of either these attacks can leave profound emotional and mental scars on the victim. It’s not unfamiliar to hear about children committing suicide because of trauma” (Nila Eslit, 2017). It seems that children need more attention regards this issue since their mentally are still not strong enough to against those cruel comments on social media. When they get hurt by those comments, they might avoid facing or interacting with other people because they will care about how other people see them. This will indirectly reduce their confidence and self-esteem while communication with other people.
Social media not only helps maintain a relationship, but also create conflict in a relationship. Since social networking sites make it easy for someone to check up on what things their significant other is doing, this can create jealousy and uncertainty in a relationship. If a significant other is “liking” or commenting on someone else’s pictures then that may make their partner jealous and create tension in the relationship. The jealousy may cause conflict among the couples because they feel insecure and uncertain in a relationship. According to Buunk & Dijkstra, women tend to be more jealous of emotional infidelity than men and men tend to be more jealous of sexual infidelity than women.
When the conflict becomes more serious, it may end a relationship. Sometimes, the couples feel uneasiness to break up with face-to-face communication, so they tend to use social media as a platform to break up with their partner. Breaking up over the phone can be looked at as term avoidance via distant communication. Wikerson (2017) explains that “when partners break up social networking sites can be a cause for concern because the relationship is still imprinted into Facebook in a number of ways. After the couple has broken up and changed their relationship status, there can still be artefacts from the relationship left on social media such as pictures together, messages, etc.” Hence, social media can easily affect the interaction between the couples and lead to break up.
In conclusion, to understand the negative effects of social media on relationships this essay analyzes negative impacts of social media on social interaction and communication among people. In relation to social media, negative effects include false sense of connectivity, less real-life conversations and face-to-face interaction among humans, cyberbullying and cyber harassment, creation of conflicts and many other.
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