Essay on the Effect of Internet Technology and Social Media on Users and Society

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957 words
Middlebury College
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Over the last seventeen years, internet technology has greatly changed the way people live in the modern era. Digital innovations such as social media have further enhanced our societys dependence on internet technology. This technology has contributed to significant changes in interpersonal relationships, improved social skills, and resulted in cyberbullying among other uncivil activities on the cyberspace.

The area that has gained a lot of benefits from the advent of internet technology and social media is communication. Through the internet and its accessories, information is passed from one place to another in the shortest time that has never been experienced before the advent of the internet. For instance, the use of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter convey information in the form of texts and photos to relatives and friends irrespective of their location (American Academy of Pediatrics 801-04). This technology has made possible that people in major cities in the developed world can effectively communicate with individuals even in remote parts of the globe at a very low cost and high degree of convenience. As a result, distance as a hindrance to communication has been eliminated.

The irrelevance of distance in communication has made people from different backgrounds to break cultural barriers and share in discussions on various issues affecting humanity. Through social media, users exchange ideas with each other. This new form of interaction affords users with new ideas on ways of solving some of the problems that are affecting society alongside getting the knowledge that is readily available on the internet (Amedie 3). To this end, people of different societies have become more aware of each others values and social systems thereby promoting the spirit of oneness among all peoples of the world.

Despite its multiple benefits, internet technology and social media have generated several problems to society to the extent that one would wish that it should not have been invented in the first place. The area of communication that this technology sought to enhance has been at the receiving end of these problems. For instance, internet technology has eroded face-to-face communication since the virtual world is so engaging that users do not have time to attend to family members or relatives who may require physical presence (Lengacher n.p). The lure of apps, online music, videos, and online chats has robbed people of the human fellowship and the physical emotion that all people in intimate relationships require (Amedie 3). For the case of children, a lot of time is being spent on internet games and other forms of online entertainment at the expense of physical conversation with parents. These trends have resulted in strained family relationships and poor cognitive development among children (Amedie 4).

Poor cognitive skills have the danger of exposing victims to antisocial behaviors as they grow into adolescents and young adults (Amedie 4).This is due to the inadequate social cues and body language that are major components of social communication (Lengacher).Such children have a higher risk of failing to deal with stressors such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness. This is because strong social ties provide a buffer for people to overcome stress whereas weak social ties fail to provide an avenue through which adolescents and teens can relieve themselves of life pressures that cause stress (Pantic 652; American Academy of Pediatrics 801-02).

Multitasking has also become common to the era of internet and social media. This is a problem that is common among adolescents and teens whose use of cell phones for social networking is heavier than adults (Pantic 653).In classrooms, social places, and even while walking, young adults and adolescents fail to resist the temptations to check their accounts on social networking sites for updates from their virtual friends. The excitement and entertainment that these chats offer make these individuals addictive to online connections at the expense of engagements that require a lot of physical attention. In the end, such heavy use of online platforms further exposes the users to bullying (American Academy of Pediatrics 801-03).

Cyber bullying is a common occurrence on online social networks. People who are affected more by cyber bullying are those that have low self-esteem. These individuals become more exposed to online bullies because they spend more time on online social sites in order to promote content that boosts their profiles (Pantic 653).With the significant increase in the number of people connected to the internet and social networking sites, cases of cyber bullying have also gone up. Due to cyberbullying, many, especially teens and adolescents, have committed suicide. This can be illustrated by the much-publicized case of Amanda Todd, the Canadian teenager who killed herself after repeatedly being bullied by an individual from the Netherlands.

In summary, I conclude that the internet and social media has enabled cheap and efficient communication. Friends and family members easily share information across long distances. At the same time, these technologies have substituted face-to-face communication which is critical in human relationships. Most social media users find it tempting to multitask as they chat on social media. Moreover, digital technologies have led to increased cases cyber bullying. Overly, technology will remain part of our lives. All users can do is to learn to live with challenges associated with it.

Works Cited

Amedie, Jacob. "The Impact of Social Media on Society." Santa Clara University, vol. 9, no. 3, 2015,pp .n.p

American Academy of Pediatrics. "Clinical ReportThe Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families." Clinical ReportThe Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families, vol. 127, no. 4, 2014, pp. 801-804.

Lengacher, Lucas. "Mobile Technology: Its Effect on Face-to-Face Communication and Interpersonal Interaction." Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences-Huntington University, vol. 14, no. 1, 2015,pp.n.p

Pantic, Igor. "Online Social Networking and Mental Health." Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, vol. 17, no. 10, 2014, pp. 652-657, doi:10.1089/cyber.2014.0070.

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