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In the contemporary society, use of technology makes the world a global village in that people from all walks of life can interact and share information. While sharing of information can be positive, there have been cases of cybercrime and cyber bullying. Information that people post on social media sites such as Face book, Twitter and YouTube, have been used to hack their accounts and threaten their lives (Davies& Canada,2010). This paper looks at some of the negative effects of social media. Whereas social media sites allow people to find and connect with people beyond their geographical boundaries, such casual connection on the Internet has its downside; firstly, social media gives people a perpetual sense of connection. It makes it difficult for people to differentiate between meaningful and meaningless relationships. The relationships formed on social media do not reflect the reality on the ground. Important connections of people lessen when they focus more on social media rather than real life. Children are more vulnerable to cyber bullying.
Cyber criminals pose a greater threat to children since they easily trust people. As a result, children can be terrorized and psychologically tortured. There are cases where victims have been compelled to commit suicide. Recent reports reveal that 42% of young people have been victims of cyber bullying (Davies & Canada,2010). In a nutshell, sharing of personal information on social media sites makes a victim more vulnerable and susceptible to insecurity.
Advances in IT have led to ethical issues in regard to the use of social media. While myriads of businesses use social media to communicate with their clients and employees, they can also be a distraction for employees who instead of concentrating on their work may focus more on their so-called social media connections. Wired.com recently observed that social networking great damages productivity: Facebook alone shaves 1.5% of office productivity (Davies & Canada,2010). It is also reported that offices lose approximately $2.2 billion shillings annually due to employees concentrating more on social media (Davies & Canada, 2010)
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Social Media Sites Reduce Privacy
On social media sites, people are encouraged to be more open about their social and personal lives. When posting intimate issues about their daily lives, users can ignore filters that protect information; and thus information can be easily obtained by cyber criminals. Moreover, information that people post remains indelible for quite some time. People can post photos, and think that it is harmless; employers may later scrutinize the information posted by their employees and judge them based on those images. It is therefore important that employees consider what they post or share on social media. Most sites allow users to control what they post; others don't. This poses great danger to users in that they may not be aware of the negative consequences of what they post or advertise. Due to the lack of restriction users cannot guard against what they post on social media sites. It is important that social media sites such as Facebook come up with user-access controls so that they can regulate what they see, post or view on social media. For instance, if one posts something about his/her wealth, it would be easier for robbers and fraudsters to attack him/her.
While it is true that through social media site as Linked In people can acquire jobs, however such social media can also be used to deceive people, and many people can become victims of human trafficking (Qualman, 2009). Employers and colleagues at work use social media to investigate the lives of potential employees. It therefore means that the pictures one posts must reveal the “the real them”. Unfortunately, most of the pictures that people post on social media are not real. Employers need accurate information about individuals. It is therefore important that people distinguish their professional lives from their personal lives. People who give “too much information” on social media are at a risk of losing job opportunities. What is more, they could be deprived of job opportunities or even fired and students can be excluded from higher institutions of learning. For instance, if one posts information about divorce or separation, such information could be used against them by employers.
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Research shows that 37% of employers make up their mind about potential employees based on the pictures and posts the latter submit on social media (Qualman, 2009). Most people today submit their own photos on the Internet. What does this mean in regard to their self-esteem? Psychologists assert that response to such images on the media can change their perception. While it is true that many people today are protected when interacting online, issues related to self-esteem are considered more sensitive, since a significant number of people are not aware of the dangers related to posting photos on social media sites.
Issues related to identity crisis arise when individuals want to post pictures that do not reveal their real selves. Recent studies show that most people who share their photos on-line do so because they base their self-esteem on “pubic contingencies”. People are naturally competitive. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook, allow frequent and quick access to profiles of other people. Sharing photos on social media encourages social competition and comparison (Qualman, 2009). People who share photos on social media are deemed to be struggling with self-esteem issues.
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It is significant that while people share their photos on social media, they become more aware of who else may be viewing their photos. Cyber criminals may see the photos and track people`s locations; in this case such individuals become prone to danger. In order to overcome issues of self-esteem, individuals should limit the time they spend on social media. Photos posted on-line can have both positive and negative impacts on an individual. It is therefore important that individuals monitor what photos they post. Individuals suffering from depression and low self-esteem have a more distorted perception of themselves (Qualman, 2009). In order to intercept such thoughts such individuals should look for alternative ways in which they can change their attitude towards themselves.
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