how much the techonology of cell phones and social media has had a negative impact on today’s society.
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Invasion of Social Media and Cell Phones in Society
By nature, man is a social animal. From the beginning of times, humans have found ways to interact and communicate with one another. With the evolution of mankind, the modes of communication have also evolved resulting in developing of cell phones and social networking sites (SNS). On one hand, they have given a sense of connection with the world; however, it has also created a vacuum in relationships and distanced human beings from interpersonal communication skills. Besides the lack of communication in the household, social media and cell phones are also vulnerable means of communication. There are numerous cases involving identity theft and privacy issues. Also, the social networking websites have unfiltered content that can include hate speech to different religions, traditions and customs. The web of social media and cell phone networks have spread in almost every part of the world thereby making it completely impossible to monitor and filter the information.
Impact on Academic Grades and Performance
Most of the college students are quite exposed to different technological advances in almost every walk of their lives. It can include usage of laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, and E-readers. Students use these gadgets for various purposes; however, the primary purpose is to stay connected with the world. This communication can be in different forms. It can include engagement on different topics on social networking sites, blogging, text messaging, online learning, and content sharing (Cassidy et al. 380-391).
Besides the widespread potential of social networking sites for academic purposes, unfortunately, it is mainly used for entertainment and socializing purposes by students. Different social networking websites including Twitter, Facebook or Instagram have millions of registered users with many people logging in every second. Dahlstrom et al. (5-8) have conducted a study that reflects that the most of the online networking sites users are college students. They conducted a survey that reflected that more than 90% of students use Facebook, and around 37% use Twitter on a regular basis. Cell phones are equally responsible in this regard for providing such intense engagement of students and SNS whenever and wherever they want it.
Reynol Junco (187-198) in his article, ‘Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance’ has found a relationship with declining students’ GPA and usage of Facebook. Moreover, the student pays much more attention to Facebook as compared to studies. Regarding it, students tend to spend more time on social networking websites than on studying and preparing for exams. These aspects clearly reveal the over-involvement of students and sometimes, obsessive behavior with social networking websites that results in deteriorating academic performance (Kirschner and Karpinski 1238). This also translates to excessive usage of smartphones.
Cell Phones, Social Media, and Health
Networking innovations have created a strong barrier for people to have a healthy lifestyle. The health of people has become highly dependent not only on his/her environment but also on their frequency of interaction with social media and cell phones. This is because of the enhanced amount of time spending by young students and adults texting and surfing the internet. In this regard, Problematic Internet Use (PIU) is becoming a serious concern for young adults and adolescents. Although, PIU does not define the complete problem statement; however, it can be referred to as the internet addiction faced by people (Christakis and Moreno 959-960). Besides young adults, adolescents and teenagers are susceptible to internet addiction because of the high frequency of cell phones and social media usage. Spending excessive time chatting and texting on social networking websites lead towards a psychological dependence on a person on internet thereby leading to even more severe mental health issues.
Social media websites provide an interface to people that is easy to use and quite readily understandable. This has caused people to spend hours on social networking websites to chat and share their experiences without knowing the serious effects of human life. Having more friends on social networking websites enhances the amount of time spent on those websites.
Nevertheless, these websites are used for connection people all around the globe. They also have severe consequences on human’s life. For that, a term called Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) was also introduced to depict clearly the seriousness of this issue. Balakrishnan and Raj (263) has revealed that the students who are indulged in using Facebook and other social networking websites are highly prone to develop different addictive symptoms. These symptoms include loss of control, salience, relapse, withdrawal and subsequent reinstatement. Moreover, these very symptoms are by the Brown’s Addiction Behavior Framework. These findings are also quite coherent with the users who are addicted to their mobile phones for online games and the internet (Charlton and Danforth 1531-1548). Addiction to internet usage is just as severe as addiction to alcohol and drugs. The American Psychological Association has placed the behavior of over-usage of the Internet under the domain of addition together with addictions of gambling, video games and different eating disorders (Abdulahi et al. 136).
Hence, socialization with different persons and spending significant time on social networking websites and cell phones lead to mental health conditions and development of addictive conditions. By building new social bridges, young adults and adults were made to believe that they are satisfying their need for making contact; however, it creates an additional risk of developing an inherent internet addiction.
Privacy Issues and Personal Security
The advent of mobile phones has limited human interactions to texting and audio calling. Social networking websites have increased the need and urge of a human being to be connected beyond control. Millions of people have become social media site as their primary hub to interact with people. SixDegrees.com was the first social networking website that has resulted in the growth of social media industry beyond all the human expectations. However, it has created an additional menace to society as well. The menace of data privacy and identity theft is haunting social networkers since its very inception. Personalized data is collected by financial institutions, government organizations, hospitals, and search engines are stored in databases. This critical information shows the likes, dislikes and critical financial and personal information of the person that could be misused by perpetrators. Identity thieves use this critical information, and it results in several economic and social crises that can include fraud, theft and vandalism (Abdulahi et al. 137).
Perpetrators are exploiting the personal information of users and using them to blackmailing purposes as well. This information includes critical conversations between persons that can result in breaking up of relationships. The famous Ashley Madison scandal has created a huge havoc on the social scale when 37 million cheating spouses were revealed by a hacker. The stolen data from Ashley Madison’s site included influential people including United Nations, Vatican staff, and bankers. The hack has generated a tremendous spree of divorces and alimony complaints within the first four months of data leakage. It has also ruined financial and personal lives of numerous persons as well (Robinson and Zolfagharifard 1).
Similarly, famous social networking websites hold a vast amount of information that users provide willingly on those websites. Information like phone number, religious views, political views, sexual orientation and relationship status are quite critical for a person. Besides that, the issues of protecting this information from website owner are another question that has been under discussion for around a year.
Terrorism and Social Media
Social media is another mode of communication. However, terrorists and more specifically Islamic State terrorists are using social media as a tool for spreading their agenda. This has brought about another dimension of the potential vulnerability of social media. On social networks, it is quite evident that the companies cannot control the content and religious hatred. Moreover, it is becoming a nexus of spreading chaos and hatred instead of its primary use of social networking (Masi 1).
All in all, social networking websites have done more damage than good on almost every ground. Young adults and adolescents spend hours using it on cell phones thereby making their usage highly addictive. However, these sites are also quite vulnerable to hacker attacks, and they have different privacy issues associated with it as well. Recently, it has been revealed that the terrorist organizations are using these websites as a source for recruitment and spreading hate speech. This widespread inclusion of cell phones and social media in everyday’s life makes every individual vulnerable and highly susceptible to mental illnesses.
Abdulahi, Aida, Behrang Samadi, and Behrooz Gharleghi. “A Study on the Negative Effects of Social Networking Sites Such as Facebook among Asia Pacific University Scholars in Malaysia.” International Journal of Business and Social Science 5.10 (2014): 133-145.
Balakrishnan, Vimala, and Ram Gopal Raj. “Exploring the relationship between urbanized Malaysian youth and their mobile phones: A quantitative approach.”Telematics and Informatics 29.3 (2012): 263-272
Cassidy, Erin Dorris, et al. “Higher education and emerging technologies: Student usage, preferences, and lessons for library services.” Reference & User Services Quarterly (2011): 380-391.
Charlton, John P., and Ian DW Danforth. “Distinguishing addiction and high engagement in the context of online game playing.” Computers in Human Behavior 23.3 (2007): 1531-1548.
Christakis, Dimitri A., and Megan A. Moreno. “Trapped in the net: will internet addiction become a 21st-century epidemic?.” Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine 163.10 (2009): 959-960
Dahlstrom, Eden, et al. “ECAR National Study of Students and Information Technology in Higher Education, 2011.” EDUCUASE Center for Applied Research. (2011): 1-54.
Junco, Reynol. “Too much face and not enough books: The relationship between multiple indices of Facebook use and academic performance.”Computers in Human Behavior 28.1 (2012): 187-198.
Kirschner, Paul A., and Aryn C. Karpinski. “Facebook® and academic performance.” Computers in human behavior 26.6 (2010): 1237-1245.
Masi, Alessandria. ‘ISIS Foreign Fighter Recruitment, Social Media Undeterred By New Security Crackdowns’. International Business Times. 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.
Robinson, Martin, and Ellie Zolfagharifard. ‘Hackers Have Posted Details Of Cheating Spouses Who Ashleymadison.Com’. Mail Online. N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Nov. 2015.
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