Dangers of Social Media
An estimated number of 1.96 billion worldwide social media users was recorded at the beginning of the year 2017. North America is responsible for 59 percent of those users. Roughly 326 million people reside in the United States of America, and of that 326 million people, 81% have some sort of social media profile (U.S Population With a Social Media Profile 2017). It is no question that technology is advancing and that social media is growing at uncontrollable rates. The advancement and expansion of social media is due to the fact that the usage rates are growing exponentially year after year. However, social media may not be all it is cracked up to be. Social media can be potentially dangerous to its users, especially its consistent users. Many benefits can be seen in regards to the use of social media, but often times the negatives are overlooked or unspoken of. Social media plays such a prominent role in everyday life, however, it is putting teenagers in danger by allowing them to talk to strangers, put their personal information online, as well as cyberbullying.
Teenagers spend a lot of their free time on social media talking to their friends and followers, a lot of which are strangers. Teens desire feeling popular and noticed, and unfortunately social media has created an environment wherein the more followers you have the more relevant your social network is. Due to these pressures teens begin to accept follow requests from virtually anyone. In Europe, the European Commission who oversees the Digital Agenda has spotted the problem. This Commission has recommended that all social networking profiles be set to the private setting to allow access from only real friends and family members. (Children and the Internet) But is this enough? Do just enforcing the privacy settings create enough safety for teens? Many believe that it in fact does not matter how strict privacy settings are if teens are just going to voluntarily allow strangers access to their social networks anyways. (Tedischi)
As well as adding random people, teenagers also bear their souls online not knowing who they are sharing with. Teenagers do not quite understand the dangers of allowing strangers to see their private information online. Online predators are not new to this game. And they are only getting better at what they do. These predators go above and beyond and do not just randomly get their information. When a piece of information comes across them they do their research, they check profiles and create targeted searches on friends and other followers to find out all that is going on online with their target. (Hitchcock) According to the article titled, Children and the Internet, "Children may expose themselves to dangers when they post personal information on Facebook or elsewhere. An FBI and Department of Justice study determined that child predators utilize such online information." (Children and the Internet) Social media is beginning to change what the meaning of a friend is. A friend is someone who you trust and who you have built a real relationship with over a period of time. However, according to social media, a friend is someone who you have clicked a button on your computer which allows them to follow your posts on social media. Information posted on the internet is not something to be taken lightly.
Social media allows as well as requires personal information to be seen by others which is a major factor contributing to the many dangers of social media. John Dvorak wrote an article titled, Stalking by any Other Name is Still Stalking. Throughout this article he made many points about the immense dangers of social media. He says, "These apps give too much information and can result in stalkings, rapes, and murders." (Dvorak) Social media is a place where so much information is shared and it becomes very easy to find out personal information about people. Of those with social media, ninety-one percent are likely to post pictures of themselves, seventy-one percent are likely to name their hometown and school names, fifty-three percent are likely to post email addresses, and twenty percent are likely to share their cell phone numbers. (Painter) Let those number sink in. Not only are people so very careless on who they allow to follow their accounts but they are also so careless about the information they post. People do not understand how harmful putting all of this information onto the internet can be. With information like such out on the internet, the results could lead to stalking, rapes, and murders. While allowing randoms to follow social networks and then proceeding to openly share this kind of information with people is asking for danger.
As a whole, people are too trusting with each other, and this does not leave social media out. Too much trust is given and too much personal information is posted online.John Dvorak, gave an analogy in an article and this analogy is very insightful and clear. The forty year old analogy states, "between 1965 and 1975, the entire country was hitchhiking to the town over... Hitchhiking met its doom when scary movies were released in which hitchhiking criminals would butcher the driver. This was soon followed by actual crimes across the country" (Dvorak) Just as the drivers who willingly open the door for danger when they allow hitchhikers to come along, social media users invite potential predators and danger when they share too much information online. The door is wide open for online predators and dangers of the social media world. "If I'm a hacker, I'm taking full advantage of this," says Fatemeh Khatibloo, an analyst with Forrester Research. Her advice -- delete the concert posts today or set them to private. "Don't make those kinds of answers about your life public." (Jefferson) In his article, Jefferson makes several good points concerning the dangers of what you post online. He goes in to depth describing that many security questions for things such as bank accounts or emails are often easy information to pick up off of someone's social media site. Keep the personal information personal to you.
Social media can enhance physical and literal dangers in this world but this technology advancing plague also has the ability to cause dangers within the walls of technology like cyberbullying. "Experts say this type of humiliation is more damaging than traditional face-to-face bullying because it is more invasive, takes place in front of a much larger audience, occurs 24-7 and is permanently preserved." (Hogan) Cyberbullying is permanent. Those who are cyberbullied do not have the luxury of being able to go home and be safe. The cyberbullying is constant and never ending and only continues to get worse as time goes on. Those victims of cyberbullying are often victims of depression and other mental illnesses. Cyberbullying can sometimes be brought on by oneself. Social media has created a desire of perfection with teens. Teens strive to have the perfect amount of followers and the perfect amount of likes and the perfect amount of comments. Obviously, not everyone lives up to the standard of perfection. Those who do not often suffer from self-loathing and bullying which can lead to depression (Udorie). Cyberbullying is also linked to risky behaviors as well as depression. Suicide, high stress, poor grades, alcohol and drug use, poor sleep, physical violence are all effects cyberbullying has on its victims. ("Teens' excessive use of texting, social media linked to risky behavior.") Cyberbullying often goes unnoticed as parents may not be involved on social media leaving the responsibility all on the teen to fix the problem on their own while scared and threatened by the bully.
There is no denying that social media has many upsides. Social media brings people together and enhances the levels of communications. However, there cannot be good without evil. There are many dangers associated with social media. And as technology continues to advance, the risk of danger teens face will only continue to grow.
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Cameron, you cannot quote actual information in your opening statement. That is not allowed in an academic paper because the opening statement is meant to be an introduction to the topic of your research and an outline of your planned discussion. Therefore, what you have to present in the first paragraph is an actual sentence that presents your research question such as "Does social media open up users to certain dangers?". Once that question is posted, you need to list the types of dangers that you will be discussing, in the order that your body paragraphs will be discussing the topics. If required, offer an idea as to what your personal opinion is and that it will be included in the discussion as well. The information your research contains is sound and valid. Those can be used in it's current form. It is the opening statement you need to fix or improve upon..