Social Media: Blessing or a Curse?

This week CBS DC Local News released an article entitled “Psychologist: Social Media Causing A ‘Distancing Phenomena’ To Take Place”. The article reports that social media has both positively and negatively impacted the world, as over 70% of adults who are online now use a socialnetworking site. Therefore, the article questions if social media can mentally impact people since some fear that our interactions have become more impersonal and a distancing phenomena has taken place.

Krystine Batcho, a psychology professor at Lemoyne College, believes that society has greatly benefited from social media, but explains that the things people do in cyberspace are different from what they would do in a face-to-face conversation. Batcho provides cyber-bullying as an example as to how communications via social media differ from those face-to-face because the bully feels no sense of responsibility when acting out on cyberspace. Recently there have been a number of teen and adult suicides due to them being bullied over social media by their peers. Batcho believes that the bully would not engage in this type of activity if they were in person because of the consequences they would face if caught by an authority figure. However, the greater fear society is faced with is that kids are not learning how to behave in face-to-face conversations, because how they communicate in cyberspace is different than how they do in person, so they may be losing out on important social skills.

According to a Pew Research study, over 60% of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day, and approximately 40% do so multiple times a day. Batcho explains that when people become dependent on social media and show addictive tendencies, they will feel anxious, nervous or worried when they can not access it. Additionally, the more social media is used over time, the more life satisfaction decreases since psychologically, real-life interactions and social media interactions do not meet the same needs when compared. Real life interactions add an extra layer to relationships versus cyber ones. However, when people start to view social media relationships in place of, or better than, real life it could be used as an escape from reality.

Should social media sites have a minimum age limit and/or other restricts in place for child use, and why?

Does social media addiction truly exist for some people?

Do you think the benefits of using social media trump the dangers or risks, and why?

Source: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/04/16/psychologist-social-media-causing-a-distancing-phenomena-to-take-place/

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4 thoughts on “Social Media: Blessing or a Curse?

  1. People are under big pressure nowadays, and they need a channel to let it out. Then social media come to our life, and some people think it’s a perfect channel —- the account could be anonymous and you can reach a large group of listeners. They share their worry, feeling, confusion and problems. They hope to be understand and supported. But sometimes, the reality is just the opposite. I totally agree that the things people do in cyberspace are different from what they would do in a face-to-face conversation. When I go through Sina Weibo, sometimes I found people are cold blood and mean compared to face-to-face conversation. You could also get hurt on social media, maybe event harder.

    I don’t know which is the proper way to deal with the issue about children with social media. Restriction may be useful. Teens rebel. The harder you restrict, the more interest children will get about social media. Maybe it will be more useful if we teach them how to use social media properly and they should be aware of privacy.

  2. I think social media sites should have a minimum age limit and allow kids to use only under the supervision of their parents. Like parents and teachers are responsible for educating and teaching the kids how to behave in public and society, they should also be responsible for kids’ behavior on social media sites until a certain age.

    In my opinion, social media can be an addiction to some people because it is fun and for some people social media is an “easier” and more “convenient” way to communicate with people because they don’t have to see their “faces” and “editable/deletable”. (e.g. If you are talking with someone face-to-face, you need to think and respond quickly but if you are texting or posting something on social media websites, you can take your time thinking what to say and your content is always editable/deletable meaning that if you write something inappropriate, you can always edit or delete it.)

    Social media has a number of benefits for users, however, we need to understand that in real life, we need some real communication skills such as speaking skill, eye contact, gestures, body movements, and tone of voice. These communication skills are different from the ones that we use on social media, and these are something that can only be taught through “real-life experiences”.

  3. I think social media is the consummate double edged sword. I commented on a different article a few weeks back about my view that increased social media usage is spawning a generation of digital natives that struggle with face-to-face interaction and offline communication skills, so I agree with that position from the article. We’ve discussed in class the dark side of social as well – people being disingenuous on social about who they are etc.

    On the flip side, I think social media is a great way for busy people to stay abreast of what is going on in their social circles, for friends and family separated by geography to stay connected, and it is also a great discovery mechanism for news and new products, services, etc. Personally, I think the benefits of social media outweigh the risks.

  4. While an age limit for social media sites is a great idea in theory, I’ve seen many preteens use Facebook prior to the age requirement of 13. Facebook authorities don’t really have a method to control the ages of their users. With regard to addiction – I can understand why it seems concerning, but I also know we live in a period of over-diagnosing. As far as the dangers of social media or any online activity, I think that parents need to know what their kids and teens are doing online. Greater parental – and school – involvement could potentially prevent cyber bullying incidents. While kids may be less prone to bullying when they are faced with confronting an authority figure in person, they should feel that same possibility in a cyber circumstance.

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