Use and Abuse of Social Media
No man is an island. This expression epitomizes everything for which society stands. The need to be among other people is the one thing that holds true for any person no matter what or who they are. This is also the reason why social media has become so popular and powerful. Unfortunately, with great power comes the risk of corruption and abuse. Despite the many uses of social media, there is a rising concern about its dark side.
The social media revolution has taken off in a few short years in phenomenal ways. Most people with access to the Internet have at least one social network that they use regularly, if only to check the traffic conditions or to connect with family in faraway places. Originally conceived as a way to meet people, much like a singles bar, it has become to mean so much more. It has been a way for people to stay connected despite the years and distance that separates them. It keeps people informed on a grass roots level, and for businesses to keep a pulse on the market. It has helped schools engage students better, and to raise the social consciousness of all the members. You only have to glance at any popular social network to see appeals for help, exposes about atrocities, and societal problems that would not otherwise make it out into the open. Social media has liberated us the way no other type of media has ever done.
Unfortunately, the very freedom that has made social networks such a goldmine of information and personal development has also led to serious problems. When social media is abused, it can rebound on users in many ways.
Many people have begun to withdraw from real life to live entirely in social media. They spend all their time on their social networks that they no longer have time for family, friends, and even careers. They have identified entirely with the virtual world. They are no longer able to form ordinary relationships outside of it.
Many people have learned to regret being too enthusiastic about sharing too much sensitive information on social media. At the very least, it can result in embarrassing disclosures about you or your family and friends, and can even lead to disqualification from certain jobs. It has compromised the safety and security of their homes, family members, and friends by disclosing private information that unscrupulous persons can use to their advantage. The most common problem is identity theft, but other consequences are much direr, such as burglary, rape, and stalking. It is important to remember to share, but not too much, and that once it is out there, you can’t take it back.
A big problem among parents nowadays is the cyber bullying of their children. Children can be mean, and teenagers are the worst. They target people they don’t like mercilessly, and their victims are unable to get away from it. About 63% of those targeted by cyber bullies are disabled, obese, or homosexual. What is worse is even adults are guilty of this behavior. A poll of teachers revealed that 40% of the cyber bullying they receive come from parents, and targets the teacher’s sexuality, appearance, or race.
It is sad but true that social media, which has the potential to do great good, is being used to hurt other people. The only way to put a check to it is to educate users about what is acceptable behavior on social networks. Unfortunately, some parents need it more than the children.