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Communication is an essential part of human life when it comes to connecting and advancing our society. Since the beginning of time, different communication forms were established, such as sign language, body language, visual communication, and written communication. Now in modern culture, communicating has taken a whole new level with social networking. The endless social media sites, from Facebook to LinkedIn, make it accessible to interact with many people.
Our generation has grown an attachment to the leisure of staying linked to the whole world via these sites. Although these sites have good motives – like instantly connecting people everywhere to what’s most important to them, others also believe that social media ushers have many bad reasons.
Walking through the mall, the heads of numerous shoppers are all one can see. Hunched over with their eyes glued to their phones, eager to catch up with the latest tweets, see the just posted “selfie” of their favorite celebrity on Instagram, or to like funny posts on Facebook. Instead of interacting with those around them, our generation tends to fixate more on how they could build up their character of having a great time or being funny, but it can all be fictitious in reality. Social media includes many positives aspects, one being that they help you keep in touch with friends and family that live far enough away that you can’t visit them regularly. These sites provide a way of communication for any kinds of relationships. 93% of adults on Facebook use it to connect with family members, 91% use it to communicate with current friends, 87% use it to communicate with friends from the past, and 72% of all teens connect with friends via social media (ProCon, 2017, p.1).
Social media sites also help students do better in school. It helps create social communities and groups for learning, developing and collaborating on innovative ideas and products beyond the confinement of a classroom (Bennett, n.d, p.1). Additionally, they help those who are socially isolated or introverted connect with others. More than 25% of teens report that social media makes them feel less shy, 28% report feeling more outgoing, and 20% report feeling more confident. Youth who are “less socially adept” report that social media gives them a place to make friends and feel more comfortable being vocal through a social media platform (ProCon, 2017, p.1).
Although many social media has its upsides, others also agree that it has its downfalls, one of the biggest cyberbullying factors. 52% of students have reported being the victim of cyberbullying with 84.2% naming Facebook as the site through which they have been bullied, followed by Instagram (23.4%), Twitter (21.4%), and Snapchat (13.5%). Middle school children who are victims of cyberbullying are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide (ProCon, 2017, p.1). Social media has made teens emotionally weak and disconnected due to lack of social engagement. Despite having a plethora of emojis (expression of feelings) available on keypads of one’s smartphones, it is difficult to express real feelings through the machine because it creates a barrier to face-to-face social communication. One could doubt if the opposite person’s expressions are authentic since the quality of communication on social media is harrowing simply because you cannot sense their emotions (Bennett, n.d, p.1). These outlets also implement the spread of inaccurate and misleading information.
To sum up, social media outlets has both its advantages and disadvantages. It gives people the power to share and make the world more open and connected while making people out of tune with their surroundings. Different people can favour both sides of the debate, yet it’s how one supports and backs up their data with factual and reliable information.
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