Social media has grown tremendously in the last few years. From 2006 onwards the growth rate is unexpectedly very high. Specially Facebook and Twitter have grown much faster and captured millions of users in just a few years. The way technology is growing, it is obvious that more and more people are going to grasp its benefits. It has brought a lot of advantages for the society. From progressed nations to under-developed countries, every nation is utilizing the power of social media to enhance life and use it for the bitterness of the people.
However, on the other hand it has also affected the society in the negative way. Just like anything which can be used for both good and bad, social media have also provided the negative and positive ways for the people. It is all about the usage and getting things done positively by using the power of social media. It is in the hands of the user to use to its advantage. But willingly or unwillingly it can still have negative impacts on the users. Today in this article I am going to discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of the social media for the society.
By Caroline Knorr, Common Sense Media parenting editor
It seems like every day there’s another story about kids sexting, cyberbullying or suffering from acute FOMO (fear of missing out). Yes, the risks of social media are real. But there’s a lot about the way kids use and think about apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, Kik Messenger and even YouTube that we don’t understand. With millions of kids using these programs and only a fraction misusing them, they can’t be all bad, right?
New research is shedding light on the good things that can happen when kids connect, share and learn online. As a parent, you can help nurture the positive aspects simply by accepting how important social media is for kids and helping them find ways for it to add real value to their lives. For inspiration, here are some of the benefits of your kid being social media-savvy:
- It strengthens friendships. According to Common Sense’s study Social Media, Social Life: How Teens View Their Digital Lives, 52 percent of all teens who use social media say it’s helped their friendships, whereas only 4 percent say it has mainly hurt their friendships; and 29 percent of social network users believe that social networking makes them feel more outgoing (compared to 5 percent who say it makes them feel less so).
- It offers a sense of belonging. A study conducted by Griffith University and the University of Queensland in Australia found that although American teens have fewer friends than their historical counterparts, they are less lonely than teens in past decades. They report feeling less isolated and have actually become more socially adept as well, partly due to an increase in technology use.
- It provides genuine support. Online acceptance — whether a kid is interested in an unusual subject that isn’t considered “cool” or is grappling with sexual identity — can validate a marginalized kid. Suicidal teens can even get immediate access to quality support online. One example occurred on a Minecraft forum on Reddit when an entire online community used voice-conferencing software to talk a teen out of his decision to commit suicide.
- It helps them express themselves. Both producers and performers can satisfy a need for creative self-expression through social media. Digital technology allows kids to share their work with a wider audience and even collaborate with far-flung partners (an essential 21st-century skill). If they’re really serious, social media can provide essential feedback for kids to hone their craft.
- It lets them do good. Twitter, Facebook and other large social networks expose kids to important issues and people from all over the world. Kids realize they have a voice they didn’t have before and are doing everything from crowdfunding for people in need to anonymously Tweeting positive thoughts.
The Emerging Role of Social Media in Disasters
When a deadly temblor rocked Nepal on May 12, 2015, Miriam Aschkenasy, MD, MPH, was in a medical tent, trying to help some of the 22,000 people injured in the earthquake that devastated the country only 2 weeks earlier. After the shaking stopped, Dr Aschkenasy grabbed her phone. But she quickly realized that she had no time to personally reassure everyone she knew. So after making one call to her husband and one to her mother, she clicked the Safety Check button on Facebook. Her friends instantly learned that she was OK.
“When you only have a few minutes of Internet and you need to get a message out to a lot of people at once, that’s a great way to do it,” says Dr Aschkenasy, an emergency medicine physician and deputy director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Global Disaster Response team.
Increasingly, people who respond to disasters are finding social media indispensable. “It is critical that many public safety agencies engage on social media platforms,” says Kevin Sur, an instructor at the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) hosted by the University of Hawaii.
The utility of social media goes far beyond reassuring loved ones in disasters. Emergency workers and volunteers are using social media to find people in need, map damaged areas, organize relief efforts, disseminate news and guidance, attract donations, and help prepare for future disasters.
“During a disaster, traditional communication systems become overloaded and tend to fail,” says Sur. “However, mobile communications—including social media—remain viable platforms because of the small amount of data needed to communicate.” And, he points out, the general public has become increasingly comfortable with the various modes of social media and adept at navigating them.