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Negative Effects of Technology, Social Media, and Internet on People


The modern technological breakthroughs have infiltrated all the aspects of human lives and made enormous effects on our day-to-day activities in terms of the way we communicate; socialize with other people and travel. Some of the technological developments that have revolutionized the way human beings socialize as well as communicate are the social media and also the Internet. Facebook is the most-admired social media site worldwide, trailed by Twitter and then MySpace which comes in the third place. The rise in technologies that enhances triumph over the impediments of time and space has significantly changed the way people live.  This steady blending of technology in our lives has become an unchanging trend since people are becoming more dependent on it. As technology becomes increasingly incorporated into the lives of people, it presents both positive as well as negatives on them. This essay will look into the negative effects that technology, social media, as well as the internet has on people.

Firstly, social media may lead to cyber-bullying: Social media provides an immediacy that is accessible to both friends and predators. Anna describes cyber bullying as, “willful as well as constant harm such as harassment, disgrace, or threatening messages, that are imposed by means of the Internet or interactive technologies. According to Jhally, George & Jean “Children particularly are most vulnerable to cyber-bullying where the perpetrators, posing as individuals whom their victims can trust, or anonymously, terrorize them (43).” These internet attacks usually create devastating effects to the victims which can leave unfathomable mental scars. These social media networks can provide the perpetrators of cyber-bullies a high level of anonymity an aspect that can reveal dark impulses which would otherwise be contained. According to Szyperski (34), cyber-bullying has increased extensively among the youth, with 45% admitting being victims. This has negatively affected the lives of many people.

Secondly, technology brings about privacy issues. The negative aspect of the social media is the fact that a user may share a lot of information which can pose dangers to him/her. Social media sites encourage individuals to be more public concerning their private lives. There are three main factors that undermine the privacy on Facebook. They include: end-users disclose a lot of information, the steps taken by Facebook to protect the information are inadequate, and some third parties are searching for the information of customers using Facebook. There has been news on how Facebook and other websites assault our privacy, by selling individuals personal information to advertisement agencies that then target people in their own online personal spaces online. An investigation carried out by Consumer Reports into data gathering and privacy on Facebook shows that many people are undermining their own privacy in the digital territory by giving too much information without using the security options offered by Facebook. Szyperski (12) defines privacy as the claim of individuals or groups to decide for them when and to what scope information about them is shared with others. Internet privacy entails the mandate or right of individual privacy relating to the storing, provision of information to third parties, and showing of information about oneself through the internet.

Data collection on the internet is increasing a threat to our privacy. People leave digital footprints whenever they use the internet to send emails, fill online survey forms of updating their status on Facebook. The footprints of information are used to form an image about the consumer. Personal information that is got from trailing digital footprints is used to make a supposition concerning the purchasing habits and behavior of people. Marketers have much interest in tracking individuals using their age, gender or preference on products so as to design an advertisement that is targeted. Maina asserts that we are not clients of Facebook, but we are its product. This is because Facebook is utilizing us, and searching for ways of monetizing our personal information. This outburst in the compilation of individual data poses an increasing threat to privacy, Beed asserts, ''When information is forwarded on to another party devoid of my awareness, then that is a violation of my privacy.'' He adds, ''Data that may be associated to incomes of individuals, debt levels or healthiness profiles can be collected and on-sold in the absence of any caution to the customer.''

Thirdly, technology has enhanced cyber-crime: The fast growth of both the Internet as well as computer technology during the past years has brought about the emergence of new forms of crime, generally referred to as cyber crime- all over the globe. Cyber crime poses the as most severe threat to people and businesses. Döveling, Christian & Elly describes Cybercrime as “a form of criminal activity that is carried out through the Internet by means of a computer which acts as a tool and the unsuspecting innocent people who are the target (87).” The Internet presents different types of cyber-crime such as Spamming. Piracy is as well a severe threat that entails the illegal duplication and circulation of software applications, or movies which results in a massive financial loss to the respective industries. Hacking is another severe technological crime that is carried out by hackers who either steal or destroy information that is stored in an individual’s computer.

Internet Addiction: Healey (34) refers the internet as a behavioral addiction. This is a form of addiction where a person is addicted to an activity or action, that is, does it to extreme levels. For instance, alcoholism is a behavioral addiction, that is, it alters one’s emotional state in some manner. The major indications of internet addiction among people is their deprivation of sleep so as to spend time in the Internet and neglecting vital activities like work or family so as to surf the Internet. A study done indicates that the excessive use of the Internet can actually restrain the life experiences of the youth, their school performance, general happiness, as well as their physiological welfare (Szyperski 112). Internet addiction is as negative as drug addiction.  The American Psychological Association has officially recognized Internet addiction as a disorder. Internet addiction disorder is defined as the problematic exploitation of the Internet together with its diverse technological features such as electronic mail as well as the World Wide Web. Spending numerous hours on the Internet or other social sites may deflect the focus as well as concentration from other activities. It reduces individual’s level of motivational level, particularly that of students. In addition to technology, they largely depend on the Internet instead of concentrating on their learning.

Exposure to Violence: technology has brought about a greater exploitation of the Internet by children, who are very likely to play Internet games from the computer. Among these online games, some of them are extremely violent as well as expose children to contents that are explicit in nature therefore desensitizing them and making them to be become prone to imposing harm to themselves and others. Media violence also has a very strong consequence on children. A child does not turn out to be violent whilst playing a game on the internet that involves violence, but he/she is in a way affected. In accordance with the social learning theory, kids can mimic the actions of violence which they see on the electronic media (Swisher 54). Children might learn that violent behavior is an appropriate approach of solving their own problems. Such exposure to children can encourage them to behave more violently.

Sexual content- the growth of the Internet bandwidth over the years has made it possible for some people to get access to sexual content from the online platform, as well as sharing them through other platforms such as social media. Children can be very disturbed, shocked or aroused by the pictures that some people share on the social network sites that sexual content. This can negatively affect the behaviors of these children. Some of this content which is in the Internet are propagated in the form of immoral or practices which are unsafe, thus endangering the lives of the youths. There is a quite a significant amount of pornographic material that is posted in the Internet, without adequate measures put into place to make sure that our children do not get access to them. The Internet has without a doubt made it easier for people to distribute as well as get access to pornographic materials;

Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights: the prospective of digital technology in the perspective of copying as well as circulating content has serious effects for the idea of copyright along with intellectual property. This practice is more manifested in the case of sharing of files, where materials that are copyrighted such as software are illegally exchanged by people. There is also the rising occurrence of academic plagiarism in institutions of learning that has been made easier by the internet through cutting and pasting content that was originally posted online by other people or organizations. As this intellectual possession of content is damaged, there is a risk that whichever ethical responsibility for the effects of a person’s communicative deeds is inclined to be dispelled. In this situation, this practice does not only affect the profit streams of the owners of property rights such as individuals and large companies, but also their communication rights which have been infringed.

The illegal downloading of materials such as software through the Internet that are copyrighted makes the person using them to be prone to lawsuit by the copyright holder. However, reports indicate that most of the children as well as youths are unaware of, or not concerned with this issue (maina). The consequence of this practice has been indicated by several recent litigations in the United States of America and European nations. These include cases where parents who were not conscious of their children’s illegal file-sharing being served with litigations (Maina).

Health Problems: there are a lot of health related issues that are linked to the use of mobile phones, as well as other technological devices that release electromagnetic radiations (EMR). Under specific conditions, the emitted electromagnetic waves have the potential of causing undesirable consequences on people. Many of these technological tools have become significant components in our lives, which makes people to be vulnerable as a result of spending long time periods in contact with these devices, for instance, cellular phones. However, many people are not aware of the health risks that are presented with the extensive use of these devices. For instance, long hours of mobile phone use may potentially expose one’s head to these electromagnetic radiations, hence potentially putting one under the risk of cancer. Therefore, people should avoid exposing themselves for long hours to these harmful radiations so as to remain healthy. 

Technology also hinders physical interactivity between people. The improvement of technology has created a totally unique approach to communication and interaction. The recent technological advancement such as the internet has led to diminishing “typical” social behaviors. “The conventional café offered a means to equally share and discard isolation, but sitting in front of the TV or computer screen is another entire story.  It cuts one off both socially and psychologically from other people” Maina. Many people are interacting with others through diverse platforms such as the social media networks, which have been brought about by technology. This technological development has hindered the physical interaction ability of a lot of people. This is because they lack the skill to interact with others in-person, due to their over-dependence on technology. Döveling, Christian & Elly (34) asserts that heavy reliance on technology hinders the social development of individuals. As a result, as much as technology is very important in this modern world, caution should be exercised to prevent over-reliance.

Too much dependency on technology is able to at many times leave individuals with a feeling of isolation. Even though technology provides a lot of benefits to our community in a variety of ways, over-dependence upon it normally leaves people with a lot of pressure, confusion, as well as vulnerable to making mistakes in case there is a system breakdown. An instance system breakdown includes the failure of cash registers or a cell phone card unit.

In conclusion, technology, social media, and the internet are very useful but have also negatively affected the lives of many people. In that they have made life so much easier on us and there is no need of asserting that they are bad. This is due to the fact that most people experience a difficult time operating in their (technology, social media, and the internet) absence. However, at some point, we ought to set restrictions on the level of technological intake we consume. This is due to the existence of the negative side effects that are associated with technology as discussed above. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the stakeholders involved such as the government, parents and individuals to play their part in ensuring that technology does not cause negative effects to children and other people. This will be a big step in ensuring that people derive optimal utility from technology, social media, and the internet.



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