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English Final Exam Essay

Social media has become a new part of our culture in society for as much as twenty

years! It is something that has become involved in every single persons day-to-day life. It is

also how we as people choose to communicate, learn, and entertain with others in our culture,

especially in America. But what exactly is social media? How did it come to be? Social media

are computer-based machines that give people access to construct, distribute, and trade

information, opinions, and many other things in our virtual society. It is characterized as a

collection of Internet applications that build on the groundwork of the web, which allows us to

spread created information. Social media presents development of new communication with

organizations, businesses, and even people like us. As new types of social media started to

emerge, our way of intercommunicating progressed within our society. People spend majority of

their time on social media websites than any other site. In addition to that, the time that is being

spent on social media websites in America using computers and cell phones have increased

tremendously. With social media, comes a lot of advantages and disadvantages. For teenagers

and young adults, its a great way for them to connect with their peers. As research shows, kids

are affiliated with others through virtual contact more than social contact. Social media is

producing to be a negative issue in one important aspect as well. Young adults and teenagers

are constantly on their mobile devices, computers, or any of the advanced technology that is put

out in our society. Ever since this big age of technology started, more people have been focused

on these machineries than going out and doing something. Before the cutting-edge technology

came to be, we as individuals in society were more out-going and had more developed

interpersonal skills with other people. Now, with all of the progressed mechanics, folks are more

interested in expressing their thoughts and feelings through the web. Users using social media,

are affecting their development negatively, their ability to communicate with others, and is also

preventing them accomplishing their goals. Social media is constructing a new basis for our
world, and is establishing a new way of life for humanity, but its starting to become one of the

biggest causes of negative aftermaths in our society.

One of the ways people are getting affected by social media is how they develop. With

that being said, there are many sources that prove and agree that social media is negatively

affecting an individuals development as they progress through life. A source that talks about

social media is the book called " The Digital Divide" by Mark Bauerlain. Written in 2011, Mark

talks about the advantages and disadvantages that our society has with social media. Mark

Bauerlain is an English Professor from Emory University. The book focuses on how social media

does affect how we act as a person, and how we start to think differently. Bauerlain says, "For

more than a decade now, I've been spending a lot of time online, searching and surfing and

sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet." "But that boon comes at a price".

Also, Mark says him and his friends had similar issues, and that they couldn't stay focused on

things in certain situations. Bauerlain explains that the internet is becoming the universal

medium, "the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into

my mind". Through this, Mark proves that this is how everyone functions daily, in regards with

social media. Through the book, Mark Bauerlain shows both sides of the argument of social

networking and how mainly websites have a greater impact on users than we actually thought.

A second book source that was used was a book called, Are Social Networking Sites Harmful?

by Stefan Kiesbye written in 2011. This is an At Issue volume that brought together many

different perspectives by other famous authors, of the issue of social networking. Kiesbye

gathered their views on many sub topics relating to social networking and presented what they

said regarding the subject. One author named Sue Scheff talks about how these websites harm

a teenagers ability to grow. In the particular chapter, she explains how being on the internet

would limit ones interpersonal skills and physical activity. She points out that while the Internet

is a helpful and accurate source of knowledge and an easy-to-use means of worldwide


communications, its social networking features can lead to addiction in teenagers. In extreme

cases, it can limit young adults personal growth and thwart social development (13). Moreover,

Scheff explains, specifically in this chapter, how social networking would bring a negative

influence on children, specifically in teenagers at a young age.

We can see that social media provides a negative effect on users of all ages, but what

exactly are these effects? Honor Whiteman, an author from Medical News Today, wrote an

article called, Social Media: How Does It Really Affect our Mental Health and Well-Being,

explains the actual effects, health wise. Throughout his article, he addresses the issue how so

many people are on social media websites, and according to him, Facebook and Twitter are

now used by 1 in 4 people worldwide. After using social media, people said they felt less self-

reliant when compared with their friends. Also, they also reported that they had a hard time

sleeping and loosening up. These concerns, especially lack of sleep, really can affect ones

day-to-day activities. Kids will be sidetracked with school depending on the amount of time they

spend on social media.

Not only does social media affect people physically, it also can affect a person

emotionally and mentally. The American Osteopathic Association, also known as AOA, wrote an

article called, Cyber-Bullying and Its Effect on Our Youth, reveals some of the repercussions

that many are unaware of. Some of these are anxiety, depression, loneliness, unhappiness,

and poor sleep. The AOA justifies that these factors can lead to more serious issues, such as

depression. One of the main ways that social media is being abused is cyber-bullying. Its

becoming a great challenge during a childs development to pass through. Kids in school are

hiding the fact that they are being bullied online because they would feel embarrassed in front of

their friends at school, which makes them feel insecure to even come to school. authors agree

that social media and networking both provide a change in a persons lifestyle, and it could be

negatively.
Another huge effect that social media negatively produces is how people lack the ability

to communicate with others in person. One of the factors that is being affected is ones

interpersonal communication skills. A website called, college.usatoday.com had an article

written by Jasmine Fowlkes called, Viewpoint: Why Social Media Is Destroying Our Social

Skills, studies the relationship between social media and interpersonal communication. A study

was conducted and results showed that one in four people spend more time socializing online

than in person. Likewise, people at events or parties, are attached to their phones

texting/tweeting instead of engaging and interacting with the people around them. Later in the

text, it was said that as more generations are born into the social age, social media will continue

to be favored over communicating in person, and this may begin to affect their ability to properly

communicate with peers. People nowadays are preferring quick and frequent engagement with

instant updates online than a prolonged chat in person. The study done also said where is an

opportunity to see people face-to-face on weekends for example, up to 11% of adults prefer to

stay at home and communicate on their devices instead. Through this article, it is shown that

the public has drawn their attention towards social media.

Another author who also agrees with this is one named Honor Whiteman. In the article

called, Social Media: How Does It Really Affect our Mental Health and Well-Being from

Medical News Today, Whiteman reiterates the problem with mobile devices. Nowadays, people

are always on their phones wherever they are. At parties, school, and all sorts of places, people,

especially teenagers, are spending their time on their phones to go on social media websites.

This matter is not going to be solved if people are always using their high tech belongings. This

is preventing them from communicating and socializing with their peers, and also their

interpersonal skills are being negatively affected by it.

A book source that also elaborates on the issue of social media is Alone Together, by

Sherry Turkle. She talks about how our generation today is remarkably being affected by more

advanced-modern technology. In the book, Turkle shares her knowledge on interviewing many
people discussing the relationship between the amount they use technology and their

interpersonal relationships. Through her analysis, she shows that living in a world where its very

connected among people, has its negative aspects to it and not just positive. Turkle makes it

clear through her analysis that there are flaws of looking for command and satisfaction in

interpersonal relationships now in our society. Furthermore, people feel connected more than

ever, but still are abandoned and uncomfortable with relationships. The author advises everyone

about the misfortune of not having abundant and amazing social intercommunication and face-

to-face conversations, if people decide to text instead of talking. Throughout the book, Turkle

also discusses the social robots that we are developing into. In a particular chapter in the book

called Always On, Turkle focuses mainly on a lot of the disadvantages that media presents for

users and how it affects their daily life. Turkle explains how it not only affects us through the

media, but also in our personal lives as well.

The author Sue Scheff, one of the authors from the book, Are Social Networking Sites

Harmful?, also mentions that the ability to communicate with others can be diminished. Later in

one of the chapters, Scheff mentions how teenagers social skills could be affected by how

much they spend their time being on social media websites. She says, While the Internet can

provide a degree of social interaction, online networks and connections cannot replace the

benefits of in-person contact (16). Students are looking to use social media as a temporary

place for interaction with others, instead of going out and doing it on their own.

In a scholarly journal called, Perceived problems with computer gaming and Internet

use are associated with poorer social relations in adolescence, Mette Rasmussen, the author,

addresses the relationship between social interaction and computer gaming/Internet use. The

journal focuses a part of the whole big theme of social media, and how it affects individuals with

social relationships. Rasmussen engages in the potential issue of gaming online, and how

children during their adolescent stage, are more interested in that than participating in social

activities. Mette Rasmussen conducts a study attacking this topic, and the results concluded
that perception of problems related to computer gaming were associated with almost all

aspects of poor social relations among boys. Among girls, an association was only seen for

bullying. The author is proving with his study that these issues are correlated and that these are

the causes for bad social relationships concerning kids. Furthermore, social media is providing a

negative effect on the young kids in our society, and Mette Rasmussen brings evidence that it

isnt getting any better with progressed technology.

Another scholarly journal expresses another issue that is up and coming: Bullying.

Joanne Kuzma, the author of the article, Empirical study of cyber harassment among social

networks from International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction, states that

harassment is becoming a big epidemic in our society today. A study was done that included 60

worldwide social media websites, analyzing their protection for their users against cyber issues.

Results showed that there were statistical differences between the websites and that, all could

use some improvement. Kuzma mentions that there are many recent articles and examinations

that focused on this issue of harassment, dealing with adolescents and children. Through the

article, the author has shown that social media indeed is capable of producing negative

problems for its users.

The final dilemma that social media as a whole generates is how people who use their

time for social media, do not accomplish their day-to-day goals. This factor deals with mainly

with kids who attend school. It sidetracks an individual from finishing what they have to do each

day. According to Procon.org, kids are using their time unefficiently by spending their time on

these websites instead of doing things school-related. Students tend to be on their cell phones

during school texting others, and communicating through social media. How well these kids do

in school and their grades, are becoming to be dependent on how much they spend on social

media. Because of this, many of the kids do not do well in school, which is leading them in the

wrong direction.
Another goal that people are supposed to accomplish in their life is how to learn to talk to

people when they are out in society. This relates to the issue of communication, but in this case,

the group of teenagers will not be able to survive in society, if they do not know how to deal with

issues that they come across in front of them. Sue Scheff from the At Issue volume, Are Social

Networking Sites Harmful?, also presents this issue at large. She says, While the Internet can

provide a degree of social interaction, online networks and connections cannot replace the

benefits of in-person contact. Not only kids, but adults as well face this issue, and they are

incapable of contacting others in person. Individuals in society would not be able to live

according to societys standards, if they dont have the necessary means.

As a result of all of this research, I hope to prove even more intensely that social media

is indeed affecting negatively ones development as they grow older. Through the book sources,

scholarly journals, and the internet sources, it is being proved by numerous authors and

researchers that internet forums and networking are causing individuals to be more technology-

minded, which leads to them not having sufficient interpersonal communication skills! Social

media does a lot of great things for our society as a whole. It has advanced our culture in a way

it has not before! But at the same time, social media is becoming one of the main explanations

why people are not developed on their own. We look to depend on social media for

entertainment, learn, and connect with others through this virtual world, when we as people

should be providing those things on our own, out in the public! If indeed we look to depend on

social media, people, especially our kids and next generations to come, will not develop

properly, wont have the necessary communication skills, and also wont accomplish none of

their day-to-day goals they have. Furthermore, I would like to conclude that social media is

constructing a new basis for our world, and is establishing a new way of life for humanity, but its

starting to become one of the biggest causes of negative aftermaths in our society.
Works Cited

"Are Social Networking Sites Good for Our Society?" ProConorg. ProCon.org, 23 Sept. 2014.

Web. 11 Feb. 2015.

Bauerlein, Mark. The Digital Divide: Arguments for and against Facebook, Google, Texting, and

the Age of Social Networking. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2011. Print.

"Cyber-Bullying and Its Effect on Our Youth." Cyber-Bullying and Its Effect on Our Youth.

American Osteopathic Association, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2015.

Fowlkes, Jasmine. "Viewpoint: Why Social Media Is Destroying Our Social Skills." USA TODAY

College. N.p., 11 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

Kiesbye, Stefan. Are Social Networking Sites Harmful? Detroit: Greenhaven, 2011. Print.
Kuzma, Joanne. "Empirical study of cyber harassment among social networks." International

Journal of Technology and Human Interaction 9.2 (2013): 53+. Academic OneFile. Web. 4 Mar.

2015.

Rasmussen, Mette, et al. "Perceived problems with computer gaming and Internet use are

associated with poorer social relations in adolescence."International Journal of Public Health

60.2 (2015): 179+. Academic OneFile. Web. 01 Mar. 2015.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each

Other. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Whiteman, Honor. "Social Media: How Does It Really Affect Our Mental Health and Well-being?"
Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2015.