Online interactions, communication and sharing of content and information through the internet is done through social media and social networking sites. Some examples of social media are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, etc. These are websites through which we can interact with people and share information. While these social networking sites may have their benefits, they also have some disadvantages as well. One of these disadvantages is creating social evils in the society.
Social evils are issues that involve members of a society being affected morally. Social evil is anything which harms our society. Social evils can be drugs or alcoholism, racism, child abuse, crime, inequality, etc.
It is a fact that “social media is causing social evils” because there are many negative effects of social media on our society.
Social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, allow us to interact with people belonging to different parts of the world. This creates a false sense of connection. It weakens relationships because people are involved in making new friends without physical or face-to-face interaction. Individuals tend to spend most of their time talking to their far away “friends” and tend to neglect their close relations in the process. As a consequence of this, our closer relations tend to deteriorate at the expense of the new ones we build. The bonding between people becomes weak. According to Cornel University’s Steven Strogate, by focusing on these meaningless relationships we just waste our physical energy and time. This causes us to lose our valuable relationships.
There are many risks involved with social media and internet. The fact about young individuals is that they are too open about their personal lives, especially in public. People post anything of their choice without any restriction. Risks are involved in this sort of public sharing and display. Since these posts are uncontrolled and unmonitored, they tend to mislead our youth.
The most highlighted risk in today’s media is cyberbullying. This crime usually occurs on social networking sites. But before discussing the risk, it is important to understand what cyberbullying is. Cyberbullying is a social crime committed through electronic communication by attempting to harass a person. It could involve sending messages of threatening nature. Individuals committing acts of cyberbullying resort to using personal information, including pictures of others, to harass them. The impact of this bullying is that it causes deep mental scars, depression and possibly even death. Individuals who are bullied over the internet tend to live in fear and when they find no way out, they may commit suicide. Cyberbullying has become a common phenomenon in this day and age. According to a CBS news report, 42% people have been a victim of cyberbullying and lost their lives.
Cybercrime also includes committing identity theft. Identity theft is when people steal personal information of others and misuse it by making fake accounts. These fake accounts are used to defame and slander the character and reputation of the individual and his or her friends and family. At times your computer may be affected by a virus that transfers your personal information to others without your knowledge.
Another major issue on social media sites is the usage and sharing of inappropriate content. The rate at which inappropriate content is shared over social media is escalating day by day. People, especially adults, spend most of their time on social media sites viewing improper content including videos and pictures. Viewing inappropriate content very frequently can change an individual’s thought process, and on a wider scale can lead to the destruction of social values and norms.
Social media has also had a bad influence on children. Children tend to spend most of their time on these social sites instead of focusing on their academics. Children of this era are more mentally mature for their age and often know more than their parents, which is not necessarily a good thing.
Nowadays, social media allows the spread of falsified or incorrect information that may conflict with actual and true facts. People often tend to believe everything they read or see on social media without questioning its authenticity. Not only does this lead to miscommunication, but also creates confusion amongst individuals. The habit of reading newspapers and books has witnessed a decline as the use of social media has increased. People use shortcuts for gathering information without any authentic reasoning and evidence.
Many businesses are running on social media. Some of them offer fraudulent job opportunities to individuals. This is another major cybercrime nowadays. A number of sites claim to offer flexible, part-time jobs, but are not really authentic. They require submission of ‘registration fees’ for the job. Upon payment of these amounts, job posters vanish leaving job candidates distressed and without employment.
Sales are also being done on social media. People are selling their products at higher prices than market rates, taking advantage of the fact that buyers do not have complete information about products and their prices. Our youth is a strong victim of this. Young individuals tend to believe that anything available on social media is not only authentic but is worth the price as well, which is not always true.
Social media also encourages poor grammar and spelling. The use of slang language may be a cool trend to keep up with, but it tends to foster poor language and communication skills.
So yes, social media causes social evils. As users we need to be careful and aware about what we do over the internet and how we use social media for our benefit and entertainment. While it has many benefits associated with it, it also has its drawbacks. Users need to exercise caution over the internet so that they do not fall prey to the disadvantages of social media.