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Published on May 4th, 2013 | by John I.

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Are social networks ironically turning us antisocial?

Social networks have expanded like fire in the jungle in past ten years. Almost every person knowing anything about internet has an account on any of these social networking sites. Youngsters today talk more about twitter, Facebook posts and LinkedIn messages than what happened in the neighborhood few hours ago.

Some Facts revealing true nature of social media networking

In America, 75% of the teenage population aged between 13 to 17 years has account of some or the other social media network, which was 59% in 2008. Common Sense Media conducted a national survey of teens, which gave some surprising results. It was found that over 90% of them use internet and 41% are actually addicted to their mobiles and other devices. 68% text regularly, 11% either receive or send tweets and 51% visit Facebook every day.

Posts, blogs and text messages have replaced older means of communications like letters or phone calls. It is not uncommon to see people forgetting to switch off lights or eating dinner without even tasting as they are busy texting, tweeting or updating their status. Millions of users remain glued to their computer or mobile screens for hours to make their presence felt in the online world, but they forget to notice someone standing right next to them. It seems like while people are increasingly connecting with their friends at different levels, their ability to have a real face to face communication is suffering a blow.

Is it ironic that social networks can make us antisocial?

The basic concept of these social networking sites was to bring people together on a single platform where they can communicate with each other. This opportunity immediately got the attention of internet users who wanted to connect with their friends and family members. However, as this trend popularized, instead of connecting with existing friends, we started using it to make new friends. Somehow it seems easier to sit behind a screen and have a conversation than going for a face to face discussion. In the hurry of sharing their special moments, they actually forget to live and cherish those moments. This is ironic, but seems true that social networking sites are actually making people antisocial.

In America, 52% and 37% social media users feel that they can connect better with their friends and families respectively using social networks, while those saying that it hurts their relationships with friends and families were only 4% and 2%. People come to these sites to boost their moral, and make new friends, but end up becoming addicted. The level of addiction according to Mashable is so high that 10% users keep on texting or tweeting while having sex. Not only this, even while having a night out or evening party with friends, an individual spends an average of 48% handling their social networks or checking emails. This comes at a cost of ignoring our friends and spending precious time networking that should have been otherwise utilized to connect with friend face to face.

Side Effects of social networking sites

Social networks come with their own share of side effects. Your private life is exposed to threats, you can get addicted and there are other threats. You might have heard of or even seen the video footage of a woman from Pennsylvania who accidentally fell into a fountain outside a mall, as she was engrossed in texting. Similar incidents keep on happening all around us, where people specially youngsters are so immersed in their social life that they do not see where they are going and are caught into accidents.

Modern generation is lacking in social skills and basic behavioral knowledge, as they are busy connecting on Facebook and twitter. This is not a healthy sign as it affects their personality in a negative way. There is an urgency in youngsters to share every single fact of their personal life on social media. This makes us wonder, “Were we ready for this? Or Did social media came too soon? Or Are we using this platform wisely? The fact is, we would have been never ready, it came at the right time, but we need to learn to use it wisely.

Advancement in technology has given us various platforms for expressing ourselves, but it indeed is becoming an obsession, killing the social and psychological behavioral skills. While you should use these social networks to remain connected, it would be wise to get off from your system, switch off your mobile and have some real conversation. We cannot deny that these online platforms have various advantages, but it is also important to develop our own skills and stop relying on them completely.



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Is an IT professional who loves writing about the latest technology news.



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