Social networks have made communication simpler, faster and better by enhancing accessibility in both social and business fields. Millions of people use social network sites to carry out financial transactions surf the net as well as carry out financial banking. Unlike use of hi-tech computer programs, social networks require minimal internet knowledge. Such networks have enabled individuals stay in touch with fiends and families and share unlimited information as well as interests.
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Additionally, professionals in human services and social workers have greatly benefitted from social networks since it has facilitated exchange of information, exchange of knowledge and access to empirical data (Mika 29). Social networks are also utilized by business people to communicate and to make transactions. In business social networks, entrepreneurs augment their potential profits through online adverts and word of mouth.
However, social networks have quite a number of pitfalls. Even though these networks enable users to relay important data, conduct online conversations, share information on bulletin boards and also retrieve information, it is quite cumbersome to reveal the exact identity of users since personal details may be changed any time based on preferences. Users who conceal their identity during communication may exploit merits of this domain. For instance, such users may opt to post information that is not suitable.
It is imperative to note that social networks are vital for learning. The use of social networks has become a global phenomenon among students. What used to be a technological tool has turned into a popular social tool and a form of electronic communication that many students from various backgrounds have used in institutions of learning, in enhancing family relationships and even among themselves (Grant & Meadows 215).
How technology has changed communication
Even though social networking is powerful and helpful development in communication bearing in mind that it has made communication simpler and faster, cases of cyber-bullying from users who hide their true identities behind monitors has been on the increase. It is an issue of concern since inasmuch as it does not involve direct physical contact, its effect on individuals preyed upon is grave than actual contact and as such, may lead to suicide and depression.
The use of mobile phones, digital and interactive technologies as well as the internet by cyber users to target other people with the aim of making them feel embarrassed, humiliated, harassed, threatened and tormented amounts to cyber-bullying. Research studies indicate that cyber-bullying begun with the introduction of worldwide web. Through this, individuals were able to connect with each other through social networks.
The study on how technology has changed communication is interesting since it touches on all aspects of society especially on how individuals relate. This study attempts to explore how modern communication has been modified by highlighting merits and demerits of social networks as well as other areas of importance affected by social networking.
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To begin with, it is imperative to note that social networking has become a favorite method of communication among countless number of people including teenagers and adults. Unfortunatey, the varied groups of users have been and as such, they have been negatively impacted.
Therefore, this study topic is of great interest since it provides an opportunity to learn how contemporary communication has been affected by emergence of social networks bearing in mind that communication is a crucial aspect that any given society cannot do without. For example, one of the important issues of concern that have been brought about by social networks and which this essay has explored in depth is cyber-bullying,
Emotionally distressing issues are common among children and teenagers today and according to sociologists, quite a significant percentage of these individuals find it cumbersome to come face to face or talk frankly about their emotional distress and would rather turn to social networks. It is interesting to observe that social networks provide a channel through which they can overcome fear while presenting their issues.
This has also been seen in schools where shy students who cannot speak in public actively participate in class discussions done online. However, this too plays a role in affecting their relationship with each other since some use it to bully others. Consequently, it negatively impacts on their capacity to interact well with others.
While users tend to enjoy the new approach of communicating through social networks, the latter, as aforementioned, has also led to cyber bullying such that users are more wary when interacting with unfamiliar people. Some users perceive modern communication (social networks) such as use of Facebook and twitter to be unsafe (Bahk et al 73).
There are tendencies towards bullying of children or other adolescents causing them to suffer from fear, anxiety and depression. Recent research studies have indicated that cyber bullying can cause potential harm through serious consequences more than just psychosomatic symptoms or suicide.
Technology is a phenomenon which has transformed our society in both excellent and awful ways. Other than the fact that social networks can be used for communication, to do various assignments, perform educational functions and other diverse functions, it is without doubt that it carries with it threats that most people are not aware of. To start with, before social networks came into place, communication was executed in specific areas like in homes or offices where phones were stationary and attached to a table or a wall.
This has drastically changed, and social network sites are now common in society. Individuals can access their friends and families through social network applications such as Facebook found in their computers and phones (Brynko 11). As such, they are able to use this technology anywhere and at anytime to communicate.
However, children or teens use social networks to target their fellows. Instances of cyber-bullying instigated by a teenager against another are on the rise and some of its grievous and diverse effects on victims include embarrassment, humiliations, harassments, threats and torments (Harris & Harris 292).
This important tool of communication has indeed changed the way individuals relate. Instead of it being a channel of proper communication, it provides a cover where a cyber-bully hides to post embarrassing and rude posts using lewd language.
Communication through social networks has virtually changed modern society and way of life. Preteens, teens or children are able to pass information to friends in terms of online conversations, text messages or e-mail. According to research studies done in the recent past, many people have expressed their like for social network as a means of communication and have lauded it for its efficiency. This could be due to social impacts that this mode has on the society. (Fuery 10).
This greatly affects the well being of individuals. However, this technology has turned a mode of communication into a theatre of war where bullies and victims- since roles keep changing- trade hurtful words (Papacharissi 60). The impact after such an incident has been either children committing suicide or killing each other. Inasmuch as it beneficial to many, it is imperative to underscore the fact that it causes social disorder (Fuery 10).
Another issue posing a problem to communication is threats by social networks. The debilitating and confusing information can be due to effects cyber-bullying children are exposed to and lack of coherent array of information (Anon 2).
Information in form of threats has dangerous effects in the life of children and teenagers as it can cause potential disastrous consequences from ill-founded decisions, misunderstandings that may cause depressions and suicides and other related issues (Kilduff & Tsai 73). Children who like social networks least understand the possible effects of social disorder that cyber-bullying in through social networks can cause.
To sum up, as already mentioned, internet predators that hide behind the safety of a computer screen have preyed on their victims through threats and intimidations (Rizavi et al 907). Individuals send written forms of communication and online voice calls to other members making them anonymous to them and thereby harassing and causing them harm. This can prove to be harmful to the teens that still need guidance and are unaware of the dangers of the predators.
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What are the causes of the problem
Research studies have pointed out a myriad of issues and a thread bare analysis of the causes of cyber-bullying among children and adolescents. Among those issues include revenge, the fact that an individual enjoys anonymity, control or power and ignorance. The latter is by all means true since most children and teenagers lack knowledge of the impact their words have on others.
They use lewd language to generate some excitement or to kill dullness. The issue of exercising power and control over others among teens and children is another cause of cyber-bullying aimed at satisfying the ego of bullies.
Additionally, children would be free to post anything on the internet to bully others when they know they are anonymous. The fact that they are not being watched gives them confidence against any chance of being found and of any immediate consequence.
Finally, like adults, children and teenagers also display the nature of revenge. Miserable children often look for means to get back at others who have ostracized them. As a matter of fact, since children don’t maintain friendships for long, there is a high chance that revenge can cause a vicious cycle of cyber-bullying.
Proposed solutions and who can help
Due to the aforementioned problems such as identity theft, harmful conversation from unscrupulous people and cyber bullying from social networks sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it is important that appropriate measures to tackle this problems be put in place by both parents and teachers in learning institutions. Some of the proposed solutions for this study involve the participation of parents, teachers in schools and the young people.
First, children in learning institutions involved in cyber-bullying should be thoroughly disciplined. However, this poses a challenge to learning institutions when children are out of school and as such any form of discipline would be considered violation of children’s right of speech. These call for schools to work hand-in-hand with parents to curb cyber-bullying among children.
Secondly, parents should understand their children. Even though some children could be instigators of cyber-bullying, parents should be there for them when things go wrong. They should not under react, overreact or reject them. Being supportive will shield their children from harm caused by cyber-bullies. It will also provide an avenue for parents to guide their children on what is right.
The most viable is teenagers and children taking a stand against cyberbullying since it originates from them. They should be informed on the need to be careful when interacting with unfamiliar individuals (Rizavi et al 904). In case they feel uncomfortable and suspicious of the other communicator, it would be better to end that communication.
In summing up, it is vital to note that most people who interact through social networks may hide their true identities behind their computers, it is imperative for users not to lay an assumption that other communicators are who they claim to be.
Even though social networks are important for communication, personal information such as surname and location should not be given to strangers. Individuals should investigate social network sites they intend to use and incase of cyber bullying; the same should be reported to appropriate authority.
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