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THE PERCEPTION AND IMPACT OF SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES ON

YOUTH

Abstract
Nowadays, the Internet is a necessary communication tool that has emerged in the field
of information and communication technology and has positively impacted almost all
aspects of human life. This new mode of communication has also influenced the use of
social networking sites which have become very popular in recent years. The purpose
of this study was to investigate the perception and use of social networking sites among
student in Malaysia and study their positive and negative impacts. Structured
questionnaires were used to collect data from a representative sample of 30 student
ages among 13 - 25 years. The study found that a majority of the student were having
and account in social networking site use these sites for friendly communication.
Facebook was the most popular and frequently used than other social networking site.
A large number of teenagers visited social networking sites daily and always send
scraps and meet new friends.

Introduction
Background of the study
Basically the internet was an emergency military communication system operated by
the Department of Defenses Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA). The whole
operation was referred to as ARPANET. The speed of Internet has changed the way
people receive the information. It combines the immediacy of broadcast with the in-
depth coverage of newspapers making it perfect sources for news and weather
information. Even with the multimedia excitement of the web, Electronic mail (email) is
the most frequently used application of the Internet. Many people, who have access to
the Internet at school, home and at work place use the Internet for no other purpose
than to send and to receive the mail. Its not just friends and co-workers that are
receiving email. Wherever you look, the web is providing email addresses. This has
made communication between the strangers easier than ever. Chatting is one of the
more popular activities on the Internet- people can talk to anyone across the world.

Introduction of social online networking sites has facilitated communication. These
are web-sites where users can create a profile and connect that profile to others to form
an explicit personal network. They are web-based services that allow individuals to
1. Construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system
2. Articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection and
3. View and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the
system. The nature and nomenclature of these connections may vary from site to
site.

Through social networking, people can use networks of online friends and group
memberships to keep in touch with current friends, reconnect with old friends or create
reallife friendships through similar interests or groups. Besides establishing important
social relationships, social networking members can share their interests with other
likeminded members by joining groups and forums. Some networking can also help
members find a job or establish business contacts. Most social networking websites
also offer additional features. In addition to blogs and forums, members can express
themselves by designing their profile page to reflect their personality. The most popular
extra features include music and video sections. The video section can include
everything frommember generated videos from hundreds of subjects to TV clip sand
movie trailers (Youtube).
Social networking sites have facilitated communication. Members of such sites can
easily form groups (called the communities) and share their opinions among themselves
through discussion threads, forums and polls. Though these sites serves good in many
ways, it has its negative effects too such as cybercrimes which has become a privacy
threat to the people worldwide. Although advantageous in many ways by building new
relationship and reconnecting with lost or old contacts, it also brought up some
behavioral changes among the youth, not only the behavioral changes but also their
social behavior and approaches. It has also ended up as a nightmare for a few people.
Various social networking sites have sprung up, catering to different languages and
countries. It is estimated that, combined there are now over 200 social networking sites
using these existing and emerging social networkingmodels.There are many features
that attract the users towards the Social Networking Sites. The Chief among them are:
Scrapping is similar to instant messaging but the text is also available to public view.
Though there are privacy options to show scraps only to friends, its not a personal
means of communication like e-mail or instant messaging. Likeness for communities
and friends network states that youth use these sites to satisfy their socialization needs
to participate/ join in communities with likeminded users. And also to extend and nurture
their friends network which symbolize their socializing personality.
Profile setting is a means of exhibiting the profile users personality/identity as how they
want themselves to be perceived by the profile viewers.
Photo sharing - User has options such as photo sharing only with friends and also
specifically can choose individuals who can view the shared photos while its not visible
to others accessing the profile. Social networking sites use such stringent privacy
settings to avoid unsolicited breach of individuals personal space.

Objective of the study

Identifying and assessing issues regarding youth social networking perception and the
impact of using it.

Review of literature

Social Networking Sites

The first identifiable SNS launched in 1997 was SixDegrees but it was only available for
commercial use in 1998 (Dwyer et al., 2007). SixDegrees allowed users to create their
profile, list their friends and connect with others (Dwyer et al., 2007). SNSs as a form of
virtual community have grown rapidly all over the world and at a blistering pace in
recent years. For example, Facebook has risen from its number 16 rank with 15 million
unique U.S. visitors a month in year 2007 to number 5 in year 2009 with approximately
95 million unique monthly U.S. visitors (Dwyer et al., 2007; Quantcast, 2009). Gross and
Acquisti (2005) and Dwyer et al. (2007) stressed that the main reason users join SNSs
is for communication and maintaining relationships with others. Although, all the SNSs
have similar objectives of connecting and linking users, they have specific goals and
application characteristics or features when providing their range of services (Gross and
Acquisti, 2005). According to Adamic and Adar (2005), social networking services
gather information on users social contacts, to later construct a large interconnected
social network and reveal to users how they are connected to others in the network.
This extended interconnected network allows SNS users to connect and reconnect with
others based on their similar interests, background and attributes. In a study by
Backstrom et al. (2008), their findings indicate that there are three types of Internet
users who can be classified into groups of long-core, short-core and light users. They
also found that this different groups of users exhibited varying degrees of engagement.
For example, the average member of a small, private group will be much more engaged
than a member of a large, public group.