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How Social Media Affects Relationships

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How social media affects relationships

Yousef Khalid

American University of Sharjah


Social media takes up a great amount of time and space from our lives, as almost everyone in the world has access to the internet and has an online social networking profile. Just like any other communication medium social media comes with its ups and downs, unfortunately not many people know about the long term dilemmas that occur from social networking. This research has been mainly conducted to prove how social media has its negative effects on people and relationships, how it aggravates bad influence and habits on people’s relations and why it is considered harmful for relationships.. Making people socially awkward, destroying relationships and arguably creating tension between other social media users. It has been found that social media has way more negative side effects than expected. Combing enough data with studies conducted by different researchers all over the world has proved that social media is in fact way more harmful to people when used consistently and if people continue to use it at this rate, eventually these side effects and negative impacts will reach out to the next generation and the one after, affecting everyone.

How social media affects relationships?

With technology taking over the world, nowadays social media is reshaping the ways in which people connect to each other and is arguably making relationships weaker. Though many can argue that social media has made it easier to connect to one another and communicate with those who are far away using various social media applications such as twitter, Facebook or Myspace, they still play a major role in changing people’s social skills over the years. As well as dramatically affecting the preservation of privacy these days, while having almost all information displayed online, certain privacy concerns are disrupted. When browsing the internet or mingling with other users on social media websites no one can ever be sure who they are actually talking to. There are also problems regarding productivity getting decreased over the years while social media is all to blame. Taking into consideration that social networking can be both fun and useful, it is hard to picture that there could be reasons why social networking is bad and that it may be a leading cause towards making people feel unsafe or lazier. Little do people know that continuous social networking is unproductive because it wastes a lot of time, disrupts certain privacy concerns and weakens actual social skills.

When thinking about saving time using social media and making connections faster everywhere and all the time, people are actually doing the complete opposite of that. According to Turkle, (2011). “Technology and social media promises to let us do anything from anywhere with anyone. But it also drains us as we try to do everything everywhere. We begin to feel overwhelmed and depleted by the lives technology makes possible”. Making new friends on facebook or gaining more followers doesn’t necessarily mean people are saving time by not going out to actually meet other people, introducing themselves to them and having an actual face to face conversation. Studies have been made by conducting dozens of online surveys that have proven all social media websites to be “productivity eaters”. Meaning that during the time someone could have been doing something productive, instead people stare at their smartphone’s or laptop’s screen for several hours playing unproductive mini-games, posting tweets or liking others’ facebook statuses. There is no doubt that social media can be useful in some cases but it mostly remains a drawback from productivity. Social media is also considered a waste of productivity in other cases such as work places. A business for example; many businesses use social media websites to communicate and talk to clients, unfortunately most adults nowadays lack the social skills required to actually get up and talk to their colleagues about a certain topic of choice, therefore these sites can become a major distraction to employees who may be more interested in what their colleagues and friends are posting or tweeting on their walls than in their work tasks, that is besides feeling socially awkward. According to a study conducted by Koerner (2010) “Face book shaves 1.5 percent off total office productivity; a Morse survey estimated that on-the-job social networking costs British companies $2.2 billion a year”. How many times does someone browse the internet for a specific thing and then end up getting distracted by an advertisement that carries them away to another website causing loss of attention towards the main topic. Even though there are various supervision methods that are currently going on in several companies, employees will still find a way to sneak a little bit of social networking into their daily work place.

While many users feel like their personal information and data is safe on social media sites because these sites have high levels of security settings and are well maintained, research and observations suggest otherwise. According to a study conducted by Eastern University and Max Planck Institute for Software Systems study, researchers have managed to create an algorithm to help in the process of discovering an individual's personal aspects by examining the one thing that almost everyone leaves on public display when all other privacy settings are hidden: their friend list. Using recently developed algorithms, researchers were able to conclude many personal characteristics, merely from friend lists and other publicly displayed lists, including educational information, hometown and other types of private data. Though social networking sites vary in the types of privacy levels offered, most of them still encourage users to provide real information to display publicly such as hometown, birthdate, address and mobile numbers. Such information may seem like it is not a big issue to most people when provided on the internet for everyone to see, when in fact it could be very dangerous. Nowadays almost anyone with enough computer skills and a fast internet connection can commit online fraud or identity theft. According to a study made by Sullivan, M. (Ed.). (2013), “over 2 million people per country are victims of online identity theft”. As there is too much personal information provided on the internet the rest of it can be easily guessed, such as a person’s security number or validation code which helps in the process of identity theft. Several cases have been reported to online protection agencies where people found their personal photos being used on websites to promote a certain cause or brand. According to Jung, B. (2012), “over half a million people report their personal photos and information illegally used by other websites without permission every year”. When having almost all private information on display for other people to browse on social media sites, it is hard to comprehend what is personal and what is not anymore. With so many people using social networking sites and a lack of consumer knowledge regarding how to protect personal identities, online crime rate will increase dramatically and eventually it will become impossible for online protection agencies to take control of such crimes.



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