Published on July 23rd, 2012 | by John I.
The Effects of Facebook on Communication
People all over the world have embraced the Facebook lifestyle. Many log on multiple times a day, update their status every hour, and keep tabs on friends and relatives through this social media site. With this powerful magnetic draw, Facebook is certainly having an impact on communication. The question becomes, “Is Facebook making a positive impact on human communication skills, or will it eventually lead to their complete demise”? Speculation is rampant in all circles from political pundits to educational gurus, but none have made a definitive case for their side because Facebook seems to offer as many positives as negatives.
Positive Impact of Facebook
Since its advent, Facebook has become an important tool for communication in the lives of its most ardent users. The following are just a few of the benefits gained by those who frequent this website:
Easy communication with close friends and loved ones as well as the ability to locate and communicate with those who no longer live nearby
- Time to reconsider words or arguments before putting them before others
- A way to find new markets or test ideas before investing
- An unbiased source of consumer information to prevent faulty purchases
- Activities that keep the brain active in both the young and the old
- Networking capacity to help with finding a new job
- A way to relieve stress and talk through problems
- A means to find those with common hobbies or interests
- A way to encourage students to develop keyboarding skills
Parents and teachers have also found that Facebook encourages the fundamental skills of reading and writing and can be particularly effective in helping low-income students become confident in using technology.
Negative Impact of Facebook
Critics charge that the many benefits listed above are not enough to outweigh the harm that Facebook is causing in the area of communication. They say that Facebook is dangerous because it cannot prevent criminal access, and children are often not prepared for the results of their innocent remarks. The following are just a few of the criticisms offered by Facebook detractors:
- Face-to-face communication time is shrinking and with it, the ability of people to read facial clues for the true intent of the speaker.
- Facebook participants often resort to hurtful language that they would never use in person because they do not have to see the response their words have on the recipient. This can lead to a type of pack mentality and brutal bullying.
- Research is beginning to show that the overuse of Facebook can lead to an inability to pay attention during conversations and a desire for instant gratification of expressed wishes; some studies show that the communication center of the brain may even be reprogrammed with constant use of social media sites.
Once users of Facebook weigh the pros and cons, most decide to continue using this source of communication; however, many do put limits on it, conscientiously guarding the time that they and their children spend on the site.
Jennifer Lewis is fascinated by the impact of Facebook on how we communicate with each other. She writes for a site that has information on student grants for women as well as other types of financial aid for female students.