“Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” You can open up www.facebook.com, sign up, reconnect with old friends, and enhance current friendships. Facebook and Twitter both pass the time, strengthen relationships with friends, provide us with free communication, and let us take a break from our hectic lives. We happily accept all of these benefits but do we really need them? With each innovation that social networking brings, we take one step backwards criminally, economically, and socially.
We’ve all seen “interesting” pictures on Facebook: girls half-naked, college students drinking, and funny, embarrassing photos of friends. Recently, one of my Facebook friends had just broken up with her boyfriend and posted a picture of his genitals. Facebook has strict moderation policies against nudity, but it took two hours for the photo to be reported and removed. While the poster must have found humor in her actions, I’m sure that several people, along with myself, had seen more than we wanted.
Along with the obvious dangers comes the association of social networking and neglect of school and work. Facebook has more than 500 million active users, 50% of which log-on every day. Over 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook per month. Teenagers spend on average 9 hours per week on social networking sites. Also, two thirds of American employees access Facebook while they are at their jobs. Think about how much studying and other work could be accomplished if the distractions of Facebook were eliminated out of the workday and out of a child’s school experience.
As mentioned in the Academy Award winning movie about Facebook, The Social Network, “The internet is written in ink.” Public access to social network posts is preventing teenagers from getting accepted into colleges and adults from getting employed. Social network prevention would create fewer problems for the world’s students and employees. Public access of social networks also leads to stalking, and we all do it. We all look through some girl’s/guy’s pictures almost regularly. In other cases, it is so easy for stalking to take place because all it takes is a status update. For example, if a girl makes her status, “OMG, having fun at the Northridge Mall with Brittany and Paris! Seeing a movie at 7:45!” all the stalker needs to do is show up at the mall at that time. Similarly, when somebody makes their status “Can’t wait 2 leave on my family vaykay to Hawaii tomorrow!” anybody who reads that status can take into account that they would be able to rob that house while the family is out of town, and this has occurred on several occasions.
Finally, in addition to safety and economic disadvantages, Facebook sets society backwards. More common than any of the aforementioned cases, today’s lack of confrontation negatively affects every social network user. Before the Internet and cell phones, confrontation was absolutely necessary for communication. With social networks, people can communicate things without expressing tone; they can lie easily and they lose the social skills that are built up by having normal, everyday conversations. As our youth becomes more accustomed to conducting conversations online, they will be less inclined to phone friends and will be rude and immature because they will be unable to conduct face-to-face conversations.
Sexual predators, neglect, unemployment, stalkers, and evasion of conversation: All of these come from social networks. What do we get in return? “Fun.” Think about it. And make sure that if you do use social networks that you use them appropriately. Is there any way to be sure that our loved ones are not misusing them? Yes: get rid of them. Facebook is fun, but so are alcohol and drugs.