"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." This was said by scientist Albert Einstein. Many different advancements in technology have come together to create the explosion in the use social media. With this rise in social media there have been many positives and negatives to these services. As a society we must look at these positives and negatives to best determine a balanced way to move forward.
One negative effect of social media on society is the loss of privacy. Many people post personal information on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This can have many unintended consequences. For example, a lot of people like to post about being on vacation. This can lead to home break-ins because now thieves know you are out of town.
While this is a user error there are also examples in which these site are actively compromising the privacy of people who use their sites. By agreeing to Facebook's terms and conditions a user is giving them the permission to access and use all their information. This information can be used for things like commercials to get other users or advertisements for things they feel you may be interested in.
Another negative side to social media is the wide spread prevalence of cyber bullying. This form of bullying can only be accomplished by way of social media sites. According to a study done by TeenSafe.com " Close to 34 percent of students acknowledge that they have experienced cyber bullying." An example of a worst-case scenario for cyber bullying can be seen in the Megan Todd suicide. Todd was a 16-year-old girl from British Columbia, Canada that committed suicide on October 10, 2012. Her suicide was a result of cyber bulling, stalking and blackmail from someone she met in an online chat room. This is just one case of many where cyber bullying causes physical harm to the victim.
A third downside to many of these sites in the decrease in productivity at work and school. These sites being used while at work or school can be a major distraction. People often become more interested in what their friends are posting instead of completing the task at hand. In 2009 Morse, an IT services group in the United Kingdom, reported that United Kingdom companies were losing 2.25 billion dollars a year due to distractions from social media. This is a massive amount of money being lost because people are reading tweets for example.
Over use of these sites can also lead to many harmful mental health effects. One of these mental effects is depression. This happens when some people begin to compare their lives with the lives they see on social media. The problem with this is that many people that post on social media only share their happy moments. This leads to the creation of a life that is not true to theirs. Viewers of these post begin to believe that their life is not as good as another individuals, when in fact this is often not true.
Another mental health effect is the need for validation. Many of these sites give the option to "like" comments, videos and pictures posted by a user. This "liking" of a post is validation for the individual that posts it. They share these pictures and comments so people can tell them how funny or beautiful they are. A "June 2014 survey from the statistics company StatPro found that 68% of people share information on social media to define their identities." (Daly 1). This process becomes a cycle that never ends, when a user seeks validation they post something to a site to get their fix.