Social networks were first made so that people around the world could stay connected to family and friends who were both near and far with ease. Anyone can “see” the happenings of their loved ones even if thousands of miles away. However, this seemingly ideal way of staying connected has had many negative side effects on society. Social media affects teenagers more than adults because of the way it’s used. People post, share, tweet, snapchat and group message people at all hours of the day and night, in some cases people they have never met. The use of social networks can lead to cyber bullying and an increase inappropriate behavior, often causing a distraction from everyday life. These adverse effects of social networks often outweigh the benefits of helping families stay connected and providing a platform for people to share their talents and ideas. This is why society would be better off without social networks.
Cyber bullying, the act of harassing or intimidating somebody through social networks, has become a growing problem, especially among teens. Cyber bullying causes anxiety, depression and may trigger some individuals to commit suicide. It is reported that approximately 42% of teens have experienced cyber bullying. Cyber bullying also often leads to face to face confrontations, 25% of which are between two children. The elimination of social networks will not end bullying, however, it will remove the dangerous platform many bullies currently use to torment their victims.
Along with cyber bullying, social networks have increased the showcasing of inappropriate behavior. It has become common place to post videos of violence, such as fighting, and pictures that are sexually explicit. Social networks have contributed to violence towards individuals being viewed as a form of entertainment. By having a larger audience, it can be said that social networks encourage and antagonize conflicts and fights. Similarly, the posting of sexually explicit pictures is heightened through the attention social networks provide. When individuals post sexually explicit pictures, the result is often inappropriate conversations and relationships. Additionally, all too often, children and teens are sexually exploited. It is reported that pornography websites steal over 80% of private sexual images shared on social networks. They are then dispersed to the public, often without the individual’s consent or knowledge.
Social networks have many advantages, such as, businesses being able to connect to people easily, people having the ability to stay in touch with long distance friends and family, and providing people with the same interests a place to support groups or movements. Despite the many advantages, we have to ask ourselves, does the positive outweigh the negative? Are the negative effects on our society, and more importantly, society’s youth, worth it? The elimination of social networks will not eliminate bullying and inappropriate behavior, but it will lessen the audience and negative impact on society. For that reason alone, society would be better off with the riddance of social networks.