Social networking site, abbreviated SNS, is the term used to describe any web page that enables users to create community profiles within that web page and develop relationships with other users of the same web sites who read their account. Social networking sites can be used to describe community-based Web sites, online discussions forums, chat rooms and other social spaces online. Some features included on many sites are instant messaging, video calling, chat, file sharing, discussion groups, voice chats, emails, blogging and so on. Social networking sites are web pages that are made for casual and effective interaction among members. Most social networks are Internet based and aim to provide different and interesting resources on how uses can interact. What attracts people to social networking sites are they are excellent places to stay in touch with friends; especially those who we do not normally see frequently. These sites also provide a forum to discuss or request a number of topics ranging from sports, languages to science and technology or even politics and news.
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Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace) can become highly addictive enough that people can turn to depend on them for confidence as well as increase personal information about others. It has taken nation by storm making it possible to get the most accurate and personal information on any one person from their favorite food to what school they are in and even get their sexual orientation in a matter of seconds, sometimes without even having them as a friend or knowing the person. It also gives people a sense of self. It allows individuals the freedom of speech with the ability to allow others to ‘like’ what they have to say or comment (retweet etc.) back almost as if to let someone know if what they think or feel is ‘cool’ or ‘funny’ enough. Social networking sights (Kiesbye 2011) reduce productivity and innovation in the work area and can become an enormous distraction amongst coworkers. Many of the websites provide users the option of email notifications and text message alerts to help feed the growing dependency of knowing who is saying what about your status, commenting on a picture or updating their profile. These sights make it almost impossible to escape their anger due to massive advertising and celebrity cameos. They have online contests (ex. the 10000th person to ‘like’ this page gets a gift card) and giveaways to save luring in different people by the day. In Feb. 2009, Los Angeles Times reported, MySpace identified 90,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the site, while Facebook declined to reveal how many were available on its site. Even if the sites decide to remove sex offenders, they cannot identify all of them or stop them from creating new accounts (Cited procon.org).
In the past few years, social networking websites have become increasingly popular among Internet users, as a place where people can meet other people, communicate, and exchange information(Philippines & Pinoy 2011) . Because of the popularity with social websites, social websites have the number one attractions for bullies. Children use social networking sites to post derogatory, hurtful, or threatening information about others. According to Kiesbye, National Public Radio’s Veronica Miller discovered “Becky,” a MySpace “cyber twin” who had copied a photo of Miller from Facebook and published it-along with photos of Miller’s family-on the imposter’s site. Although Miller’s impersonator did not threaten or stalk her (and MySpace promptly removed “Becky’s” site), the incident shows the potential of such sites for stalking or harassment (Kiesbye 2011). Not only has the misuse of social networking sites gotten adolescents in trouble, but recently professionals at work got in trouble for it. In 2009 the US Marine Corps reported, The US Marine Corps banned the use of all social media sites on its networks because the sites are “a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries.” (Cited ProCon.org) The entire Department of Defense is considering a ban on social networking sites because of concerns over security threats and potential computer viruses. Recently, Time magazine reported that 70% of U.S. human resources officers said that they rejected new job applicants for inappropriate material they uncovered about the applicant, from social networking sites. According to many surveys and studies employers surfing the web has become one of the number one reason why people are fired from work. After finding and artice via a browser (e.g., Google), people are penalized for what they are posting. Many are denied jobs, dismissed from work or disciplined because of comments they have carelessly left lying around on social networking sites.
Sharing too much information on social networking sites can be problematic in two ways. First, it can reveal something about you that you rather your current or future employer or school administrators not know, and second, it can put your personal safety at risk. A potential downside of social networking sites is that they allow others to know a person’s contact information, interests, habits, and whereabouts. Consequences of sharing this information can diverge from the relatively harmless but annoying such as an increase in spam to the potentially deadly such as stalking. Criminals can use information provided about a person’s birthday, location, routine, hobbies, and interests to impersonate a trusted friend or convince the unsuspecting that they have the authority to access personal or financial data. Even though SNS have potential harm because of stalkers or hackers, there is a way to avoid it. Someone should never disclose private information online or through a chat. If possible do not send relevant information, including bank account information, your social security number, and birthday, over the Internet. “Several social networking site features may increase users’ vulnerability to stalkers and other predators. For example, new MySpace members was asked to supply a name or nickname and information about their marital status, sexual orientation, hometown, school, religion, education, interests (e.g., music, movies, television, books, and heroes), children, or income. Although most of these questions are optional, users may automatically answer them because they are using the site to meet other people. On many sites, all these answers go “public,” remaining open to anyone who uses the site. Stalkers may use such information to gain access to site members. Victims also have options in civil or family courts. They can seek protective orders against stalkers, who can be ordered not to contact the victim, including not using any form of electronic communications to stalk the victim. Victims may also be able to file a civil tort case against their stalker, seeking damages for the impact of stalking on their lives. Also, under certain conditions, victims can sue social networking sites for failure to remove offensive or defamatory material regarding the victim from the site (Kiesbye 2011)”. Therefore, deciding whether to post something, remember that the more information malicious people have about a person, the easier it is for them to take advantage of that person.
Social networking sites can be abused. People treat them like their own diary or journal, and then get upset when people get mad at them because they posted something about them on their wall. They should be banned because of the harm they are doing to personal relationships and a person’s wellness. friendships, marriages torn apart, and Internet bullying done. Although SNS can be a terrible time waster and provides an avenue for cyber-bullying and harassment, it is also a extremely useful tool for maintaining contacts, friendships and social interaction, even when friends move homes, jobs, etc. Used sensibly, there is no reason at all to see social networking sites as a threat or a problem. Individual users, however, are not always very sensible. (Add More Use Sources)
Social networking sites provide a whole new way of meeting new friends and discovering fascinating communities, however; the cyber interactions cannot, in many people opinion, replace the real “physical” contacts. Ironically, people are less social through social networking sites because rather than talking to those around us; we almost solely talk to those online. While social networking sites can help make us more connected throughout the world, an unintended side effect is that we become isolated in your own communities. Social networking sites are destroying people’s ability to be able to read facial expressions and body language. The more people talk online the less we talk in real life, so much so that we lose the ability to catch those little nuances that are warning signs that we are offending someone or boring them. We are also relying too much on the anonymity of online interaction, and this causes us to be meaner online. Take my name for example-the name of my profile is my real name, and my real age and short list of what I like is also listed. In a face to face encounter, there are consequences for what a person may say. This is not true online, and you can say any horrible thing you want with the protection of anonymity.
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Many people believe that they are quite safe online because they are only using social networking sites to talk to friends, or they think that they are entirely anonymous. People should be cautious to whom they just met online. There are number of ways identities can be stolen online continues to increase. Hackers and thieves use these networks to obtain the information they need to wreak havoc on those who innocently use these sites. In order to protect your-self against predators, hackers, or professional job people should learn about how different sites work. Learning how different sites work will insure that the user knows what they are signing up for. A user of any SNS should allow only users you authorize their page. If a user does not know a person then he or she can always deny a friend invitation. Not only should one not allow unknown members but members also should guard personal information with privacy settings, this allows only certain information to be seen by others. When using social networking sites a person should only post information that you are comfortable having others see and know about you. These posts leave lasting reputation that potential jobs and others can see.
There are many different discussions on the topic of social network addiction but one argument is clear: These sights are addictive and they can and will directly and indirectly affect the daily lives of individuals. While some use these sights for positive outreach and to inform and educate others, there will be some who abuse the sights by not using them for their intended purposes. It is imperative that people use their greater judgment and take caution and be fully aware of these social networking sights and what they are signing themselves up for. So before you commit yourself to constant email updates, text message alerts and advertising campaigns assess the positive and negative aspects of internet socialization and ask yourself is it really worth it?
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