Is social media destroying relationships?

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Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・APA ・2 Sources

Over the last decade and a half, technology has brought in a slew of technological technologies that have had a significant effect on how we interact, move, and do business. The most significant influence has been felt in the communications market. Communication has seen enormous technological advancements, from the invention of the telephone to today's advanced cellular phones. With the internet, revolution came a slew of networking technologies, including social network communication, with giants like MySpace and Facebook taking center stage. The decade's high point was social media. It became easier than ever to communicate, but these advantages came with their fair share of disadvantages and soon this celebrated milestone began getting a significant amount of criticism. People started associating social media with a detachment in the relationships. Therefore this paper will delve to analyze how social media has ruined relationships.
Social media has greatly improved communication but this has come at an expense. There are many repercussions of social media use that almost nullifies its positive aspects as we are going to witness further in the essay. Some countries have taken these negatives so seriously that they have given social media websites and mobile applications a total blackout (Baek, Bae & Jang, 2013). Some have taken upon themselves to recreate these social media websites and applications but with the interest of its native citizens, China being a good example. These shows us that the effects of social media are evident enough and measures ought to be taken to rectify them. Failure to do so may cause the moral fabric of our society to deteriorate to irreversible levels.
There are various reasons that have put social media on the front row in matters regarding the current state of relationships especially among millennials, which is more of a detached emotionless kind of relationships.
First and foremost, social media robs relationships of the human touch that relationships were intended to have in the first place. Through social media it became possible for one to meet a complete stranger on the web and after a simple computer click one was able to add the stranger as his or her friend. Taking away the human touch brings about the trait of emotionless relationships where friends are viewed as statistic numerical and the higher number of friends you have the more you are perceived to be likeable. This lack of human touch when building this institution of friendship has brought about numerous emotional disorders that were unheard of in the past (Watkins, 2009). Social anxiety being one of them, where people find it very difficult to engage with each other physically.
Secondly, social media has brought about what is regarded as the 21st century problem of privacy concerns. Relationships among individuals are built upon respect of each other’s privacies. With social media the big problem of hacking came along. Hacking is when an unauthorized individual gets access to a social media account that does not belong to him or her with malicious intent. By so doing they invade the victim’s privacy and may even alter certain information of the victim or hold the victim at ransom. The privacy issue have seen some social media websites and mobile apps have to reengineer their structure to curb the menace. So how does lack of privacy ruin relationships one may ask? Everyone is entitled to privacy even the law clearly says so. When people are able to forcefully gain access to your social media account and leak out information that is private to you that may break some relationships that are dear to you. A good case is a couple in the United Kingdom who had a lovely adopted boy as their son. They fell prey to hackers, who made public all their documents via social media platforms. Among these documents were adoption papers for the young boy. This resulted to the young boy getting teased at school and eventually he committed suicide.
Relationships are built on the time spent together physically. With busy schedules the time spent with our loved ones is reducing drastically and social media makes it even worse. How many times have you seen friends at a restaurant enjoying a meal without saying a single word to one another with each one of them head bent and eyes busy scrutinizing that small smartphone screen? It is possible to be physically present with a friend but at the same time very distant mentally? This is even evident at our homes when a couple gets back from work and each is either on a computer or a smartphone. It is funny a family may spend hundreds of dollars on a vacation but will rarely physically bond because everyone is busy keeping up with what his or her friends are up to on social media or maybe sending pictures of the vacation sites and sceneries on social media. Social media has taken the intimacy off relationships. It is easy for one to say in social media that he or she is sad or depressed but very difficult to talk to a friend about the situation.
It is not all gloom for social media: some redemption can be done firstly by addressing the privacy concerns raised worldwide. Facebook has been on the forefront of making sure that privacy is among their number one agenda. We have witnessed various upgrades in matters pertaining encryption making it harder for hackers to penetrate networks that they have no authorization. Various sensitization have also been taking place on what one is supposed to share on social media. Individuals are discouraged from sharing important documents on social media platforms. Additionally, social media websites and mobile apps have been obligated by law to clearly define the boundaries and any use of the subscribers’ private information and also sensitize them on some unfortunate repercussions of social media usage in the “Terms and Conditions” contractual agreement form,
The second solution goes to the users of social media themselves. There should be well defined boundaries on when and where to use social media. If one is meeting with a long lost friend, it would be prudent not to use social media during the meeting and give the friend your undivided attention. This goes without saying also when it is family time social media should take the back seat and heart to heart talks should take precedence. Families should come up with set guidelines on home social media use and adhere to them. Finally, social media main intention during its inception was to strengthen existing relationships. Adding strangers as your friends on social media platform should be greatly discouraged. Social anxiety was never heard of in the past when people were used to talking physically to one another – that is how people made friends. Disregarding this physical contact removes the intimacy or familiarity of a friendship.
In conclusion, social media has impacted our lives greatly and positively. We cannot shun technology but we can learn how to tame it to work for the good of mankind. We should approach social media as a tool of enhancing and improving our physical relationships but not as a total replacement them.

References

Baek, Y. M., Bae, Y., & Jang, H. (2013). Social and parasocial relationships on social network sites and their differential relationships with users' psychological well-being. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16(7), 512-517.
Watkins, S. C. (2009). The young and the digital: What the migration to social-network sites, games, and anytime, anywhere media means for our future. Beacon Press.

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