Social Networking: A Curse or a Boon?

Below is an article I wrote for the News Shopper: Young Reporter Scheme. Comment on what you think and see this short preview.

(Who knows, my reader, I might even write a short story based on social networks and bullying – hint hint)

Sorry that I have not been posting too much, I will try to do more now!

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As the world population exponentially increases, it becomes harder for people to interact. Links between countries and nations are common with friends and family residing far from yourself, possibly even in a different country, making the Internet an ideal and useful tool in this modern age. However, this service slash tool slash utility brings about conflicted opinions due to the various uses and misuses. From children and teenagers to adults and OAP’s, social networking can be used by all.

One of the major benefits of using a social network on the Internet is that it allows long distance relationships and connections to be continually revived. Previously, people could only communicate via letter, face to face and phone calls. Since the invention of the social networks, we see that the use of phones and frequent face to face meetings can decrease. As Lauren Taylor, Sixth Form student says, “Social media networks allow an effective way to communicate with people, at a cost-effective price”.

However, social networks are usually the centre of all bullying that occurs online. Imagine this situation (which has occurred many times): an individual creates a social networking account, for example Ask.fm. Eesha Matharu feels that social media networks have begun to “dictate the way young people behave”. Even on the smallest scale, one of my friends last year got an “Ask” saying “Have you married your calculator yet?”. The creation of ask.fm was not for stupid comments like these. Even so, this was not one of the most extreme examples that have caused many young girls to take their own lives.

Social networks, when used appropriately, can also have benefits. They allow your whole online community to generally be available to you in one place. My Twitter news feed consists of world news, celebrity gossip, updates from musicians and celebrities I like and also my friends and family. For example, as Ms Fernandez (an E-Safety Rep) uses Twitter, she sees that all of her information can be brought from there. While writing this article, I sent out a Tweet to which people replied with opinions – that is how effective it is.

But, spending too much time on these social networks can become a bit too much. These social networks can be so overwhelming and can provide almost a gateway into another universe, which can seem very unique and new, to people: this feeling is almost like getting a new toy when you were a child. Despite them providing a chance to “make new friends” [Louise Keys], the Internet can be an addictive platform that takes you away from priorities in your life like studying, or work.

Overall, the Internet has become a vast thing that has allowed the development of communication and integrity, when used correctly. When they are not used correctly, we see the effects of bullying and distraction that are still taking place today. Even as I am writing this article, more people from the 7 billion living on the planet have joined a social network.Image

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