The meaning of social media plays salient role in modern society. It is established in our daily life so firmly that we cannot imagine our existence without it. The impact of social media on human beings starts at early age and continues throughout the life. Do we really know negative sides of constant influence of the Internet on our lives and all the possible threats? In fact, in modern world social media accomplishes significant function on the formation of peoples consciousness, raising their value orientations, attitudes, habits and preferences.
On the Internet everybody can communicate thoughts to the world without any obstacles. There are myriad blogs, websites where we are able to express our opinions. Social networks offer users to specify the most confidential information, e.g. age, photo, address, education, job, interests, places of visit, location etc. We are heading toward a world where an extensive trail of information fragments about us will be forever preserved on the Internet, displayed instantly in a Google search. (Solove, 2007, p. 17). Most of the information is available without registration, what means that people can simply find user page in network and have access to the information posted. Furthermore, all the information including correspondence is available to the network administration which cannot be hidden. After the release of Project X movie, there was extreme popularity among young people to organize parties of this magnitude. A girl from Netherlands announced the celebration of her sixteenth birthday on Facebook not mentioning that it was private party. As a consequence, the party became the epicenter of violence, people were injured and it resulted in millions of euros of damage.
Being active in social networks enables not only to control our reputation but also lose it. Everyone has repeatedly witnessed how people lost their jobs due to fatal mistakes in social networks. People who are under constant public control, e.g. celebrities, politicians, businessmen are under the threat of being publically blamed and judged according to their posts with inappropriate content. There were numbers of examples how people were criticized because of posts with alcohol, expletives, nudity, violence, racialist and humiliating expressions etc. Our reputation is an essential component to our freedom, for without the good opinion of our community, our freedom can become empty. (Solove, 2007, p. 30). Once the information has been spread to the public, we are deprived of the rights to control it and since reputation plays such a dramatic role in our lives, we are to have control over it to protect our family, friends, financial well-being from mischievous consequences.
Todays social media is damaging youths minds by diminishing their socializing skills. Most of the time young people communicate via Internet, thus avoiding face to face conversations. It is considered to be a norm when group of people are constantly texting in silence ignoring real life communication. Social networks have a great addictive potential. We are experiencing positive emotions every time we read a friendly comment under a photo, receive like and read positive feedback. We habituate to constantly receive information and in case it does not happen we feel discomfort and dissatisfaction. The information from social networks is acquired fast, spontaneously and in small portions in our brain. As a result, our brain adapts to receiving information in this way what leads to difficulties with thinking abilities and socializing abilities. Since man is a social being his successes, mood and health depend on time spent with people and their relationships with people and spending too much time in virtual world may have destructive consequences.
The Internet can serve as great assistant in finding and sharing information. However, being too much surrounded my social media can result in total dependence on computer, tablets, mobile phones, harming ones reputation and losing touch with the real world. It is essential to distinguish the line between reality and virtual reality and be attentive in order not to cross this line.
Duivestein, S., & Bloem, J. (2013). The dark side of social media. Alarm bells, analysis and the way out. Research Institute for New Technology: Groningen, 3-4.
Lusk, B. A. (2010). Digital natives and social media behaviors: An Overview. The Prevention Researcher.Solove, D. (2007). The future of reputation. Gossip, rumor, and privacy on the Internet. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 17, 30-35.
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