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Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society?

social media

social media

The popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Classmates.com more than quadrupled from 2005 to 2009. Many users say the sites are good for our society, but others contend that the dangers of social media outweigh the benefits.

Proponents of social networking sites argue that these online communities promote increased communication with friends and family, familiarize people with valuable computer skills, and allow contact with people from around the world.


Social networking sites allow people to create new relationships and reconnect with friends and family. Increased communication, even online, strengthens relationships.

Social networking sites allow for creative expression in a new medium. They provide free messaging, blogging, photo storage, games, event invitations, and many other services to anyone with access to a computer and the Internet.

Social networking sites bring people with common interest together, offer exposure to new ideas from around the world, and lower inhibitions to overcome social anxiety. People who have a difficulty communicating in person are more comfortable interacting via the Internet.

Meanwhile the opponents argue that social networking sites expose children to predators, increase vulnerability to computer viruses, lower worker productivity, and promote narcissism and short attention spans.

Social networking sites entice people to spend more time online and less time interacting face-to-face. The sites offer many time wasting activities that supplant more productive activities. Teens spend an average of nine hours per week on social networking sites.

Teens growing up with these sites may not be aware that the information they post is public and that photos and text can be retrieved even after deletion. Consequences from over-sharing personal information include vulnerability to sexual or financial predators and lost job opportunities from employers finding embarrassing photos or comments.

Social networking sites have no way to verify that people are who they claim to be, leaving people vulnerable to solicitations from online predators who are able to mask their true identities. In Feb. 2009, MySpace identified 90,000 registered sex offenders with profiles on the site, while Facebook declined to reveal how many were present on its site. Even if the sites agree to remove sex offenders, they cannot identify all of them or stop them from creating new accounts.

As social networking sites become more integrated in our modern culture, some people think that the benefits outweigh any downsides, while others believe the dangers are more pressing than any upsides.

Taken from: http://socialnetworking.procon.org/

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  10. Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society?
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