Social networking has caused a lot of problems. How far do you agree?

- by Wesly Kong
Curtin University

Social networking, which is also known as social media, is the use of internet-based applications to make connections with people such as our family and friends. It is now becoming an important part of our lives. In order to keep pace with the advancement of technology, almost all of us have learnt how to use social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Despite its popularity, is it true that social networking has caused us a lot of problems?

In my opinion, social networking has its advantages and disadvantages. It actually depends on how we use it.

I believe that social media benefits us because it brings people closer even though they are from different parts of the world. By using social networking, a person can communicate with his family and friends wherever they are. Furthermore, social networking sites are basically free of charge. It is extremely user friendly and can be used wherever there is internet access. By comparison, it is more economical than making telephone calls. We are able to share our life stories and special moments through social networking. For instance, we can see photos of beautiful scenery and cultural activities posted by users from different countries. We can also interact with them through the use of chat rooms and also by posting comments and messages.

Another benefit of social networking is that like-minded people all over the world are able to discuss important topics and share their points of view. This can widen a person’s personal knowledge as he can discover different things that he never knew. For example, young people around the world are now more involved in their countries’ politics. They also have a more caring attitude towards other important issues both at home and abroad.

Just as everything has its pros and cons, social networking is no exception. One of the problems it has caused us is that it allows us to hide behind the screens. That limits face to face interaction among people. Some of us might think that it is good enough to be sociable simply through the use of social networking. This could result in the lack of communication and interpersonal skills when we come face to face with people. In addition, we tend to neglect the importance of building a good relationship with friends that we make through social media. For instance, users can have thousands of friends in their Facebook friends lists, but how many of them do they see on a semi-regular basis?

Moreover, social networking has taken too much out of our lives. A lot people are busy with ‘Facebooking’ or ‘Tweeting’ instead of interacting with their friends and family when meeting up. When their elders are talking to them, they are busy with their social networking sites and tend to ignore their elders. Such insolence is prevalent especially among today’s younger generation. Apart from that, another serious problem which social media has caused us is distraction. For example, while studying, students may decide to catch up with Youtube videos or update their Twitter accounts. This causes concentration problems and consequently has a negative effect on the students’ academic performance. The similar situation is also not uncommon among workers who are on duty. This can result in their superior’s distrust of them.

In conclusion, I agree to a certain extent that social networking has caused a lot of problems. If it is misused or used in an improper manner, problems can arise. On the other hand, it can be a useful tool to people from all walks of life if it is used in an appropriate manner.