Social networking is universal and throughout the entire world, lives are shared within its technological grasp. Some say it is a benefit to have because, without traveling the world, people from different walks of life can vicariously explore through each other’s photos, or videos. It also allows its users to virtually empathize with one another, but, from its dehumanizing effects, its ability to leave adolescents vulnerable to obtaining depression, anxiety, and health issues, to playing a huge role in lowering grades, the dangers of social media drastically outweigh the benefits. Social networking does not have that much of a positive impact on today’s society as we think. In an article, “The Impact of Social Media in Review” (Article here), Jamal Cromity says, “Social networking can be addictive, time consuming, and encourages poor grammar.” He goes on to also say that, “…the behavior of so many users must indicate that Facebook and other social network giants are filling a need for users by removing the barrier of connecting family, friends, and colleagues…” In stating these assertions, Cromity is saying that most of us do not realize that we’ve become slaves to technology. Some of us cannot comprehend the fact that we sometimes use social media to fill a void. Technology has dehumanizing effects, and with it, cyber-bullying becomes a critical issue. In 2010, a Rutgers college student committed suicide after his roommate allegedly video-recorded him and another man during sexual encounters. A fox news report, “Fox news: Suicide is proof tech dehumanizes” (Tech Dehumanizes), about the suicide case, states how Dr. Keith Ablow says, “‘That’s what technology does to people, though,’ Ablow wrote. ‘Working from behind a camera and sending images into cyberspace now removes the human face from the actions of many, many people.’” Dr. Ablow, in claiming this, is describing how technology has stripped us of our, humanity, individuality, and identity. It has, in a way, defaced us.
In connecting to social media, we are disconnecting from daily life. Within Middle schools, High schools, and Colleges, social media has become a distraction. Students are more worried about who liked their post, instead of the grades they have obtained. These habits, of relying on social media to entertain them while in school, have a dramatic effect on student’s grades. In a 2011 CNNHealth Article, “Kids and social networking: Pros and cons” (Article here), Georgiann Caruso writes, “According to studies, middle school, high school and college students looking at Facebook at least one time during a 15-minute study break made lower grades. In addition, many young Facebook users show more tendencies to be narcissistic.” In affirming this, Caruso is justifying my earlier statement about the impact of social media on students school lives. Social media has affected our youth in such a severe way that their attitudes and personalities have also changed. Dr. Larry D. Rosen, professor of psychology at CSU, explains in the same article the impact that social media has on an adolescent’s health. He says, “Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders…” He is trying to help us come to terms with the fact that social media impacts the health of its users in a dangerous way. The article goes on to say, “‘Everything you do on social networks, you’re doing behind the safety of a screen,’ he (Rosen) said. ‘You’re not paying attention…there’s a real flesh and blood human being at the other end of cyberspace and your words might have consequences for that person.'” This section is regarding the fact that social networking leaves its users vulnerable to cyber-bullying because of how easy it is to be anonymous. There is not always a face behind the name but there is a face behind a screen, these qualities are part of what makes social media so dehumanizing and as evolving beings we tend to be oblivious to the idea that there is another person on the other side.
In closing, to reiterate, social media has impacted our society greatly; and not entirely in a positive way. It has dehumanized us, made us more prone to depression and anxiety issues, and played an enormous role in lowering grades as well as work productivity. So again, yes social media is a way to connect via cyberspace and because of sites like: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. we can talk to people without the threat of physical rejection but there is still the threat of cyber rejection and in my opinion, anonymity can hurt way more than in person; which makes it almost a detriment to society.