Social networking sites are online platforms where people can communicate using the internet. People of all ages, religions, and ethnic and income groups can freely exchange information and become friends on those sites. People sharing the similar interests have a chance to meet and enjoy online communication together (Isenhour 489). There are many social networking sites, such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Social networking sites have bridged the geographical gap that used to hinder people from communicating directly. Therefore, social networking sites have enabled people to communicate with each other irrespective of distance or time zone. However, there are also disadvantages. Social networking sites have negatively affected the youths, especially students due to the continuous misuse of those.
Firstly, social networking sites are addictive. Most youths have become social networking addicts. They use most of their time chatting with friends. Students have a lot of free time which they misuse on the social networking sites. In his well-documented work, Isenhour states that, “Most students fail to attend classes in the result of social networking sites’ misuse. They prefer having fun with their online friends rather than attending classes” (Isenhour 491). Additionally, they fail to utilize their free time in a constructive way (Brady 79). Free time can be very useful if utilized appropriately. Students can engage in money making activities or public service activities instead of social networking (Isenhour 3). Unfortunately, students nowadays find it hard to stop communicating with their online friends (Peele & Brodsky 62).
Secondly, social networking sites cause distraction to students. Social networking sites have many interesting pages to follow. An article titled "ET, phone earth" started that, “Additionally, there are many links posted by friends on the sites. Whenever a new post appears, the friends are notified. It is hard to ignore it since one does not know anything about the interesting link, picture or story that has been posted” (The Atlantic Nov. 2004: 58). Therefore, the situation forces a student to leave what he was doing and check the post. This distracts the student from what he was doing. In fact, most of the students start commenting on the new post and checking what others have commented on the same post. This distracts the students from doing their homework, personal studies and other duties.
Thirdly, social networking sites lower productivity of students. Currently, most students go to class with their mobile phones and laptops. This is technological development that everyone accepted (Peele & Brodsky 60). However, students do not listen to the tutors and lectures as they are online in social networking. Since some lecturers are tough and failing to attend those is a crime, students attend the classes but do not listen to the lecture. They are busy chatting with their friend s and making new friends (Isenhour 490). Ultimately, their productivity lowers as they do not understand anything what is discussed in class. Even the students with a good potential end up becoming poor performers as they have no time to listen or read on their own.
According to an article in the (Australian 28 Mar. 2013: 29), social networking causes serious detrimental consequences on students’ health. Social media has negative impacts on both physical and mental health of students. Since most students spend their time in social networking sites, they do not have time for physical activities (Australian 28 Mar. 2013: 29). They only have fun in social network sites and cannot find time for physical activities. This makes them rigid and affects their physical health. In addition, the students use most of their time chatting with online friends. They withdraw from physical friends and family members. They forget that online friends will only give them comfort when they are online. In case the student faces a problem, he lacks a friend to discuss it. They feel that people have neglected them, and no one cares about them, and this affects their mental and psychological health.
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Online bullying has affected many students. According to an article in the The Atlantic, it is common to find some malicious people posting untrue stories and pictures about a person. This intimidates and humiliates the student to the extent that they cannot concentrate on their studies (The Atlantic Nov. 2004: 58). Additionally, there are many cyber crimes that affect students. Since students spend a lot of time online, they are likely to be victims of viruses, spam and fraud attacks. There are online predators who give untrue information with an aim of hunting their victim. Students end up victims of these malicious people (Australian 28 Mar. 2013: 29). On the same note, some people post pictures of a deceased person on his profile having defaced it. This affects friends and family members of the person in case they see it.
To conclude, social networking sites are online platforms for simple and easy advanced marketing and are revolutionary for this century. It is through social networking sites that people from all parts of the world can chat irrespective of the geographical location and distance between them. However, there are several disadvantages of social networking sites that affect students’ daily and academic life. Social networking sites are addictive, distractive and affect the health condition of a student. Additionally, they lower the productivity of the student and affect students who can become victims of online bullying and other malicious people targeting them. Therefore, students should have fun in social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but be cautious not to be negatively affected by those.