There are very few secrets in the world anymore. This is mostly due to the fact that social networking has opened up a world where almost every thought goes onto the Web for all “friends” to see. This phenomenon has caused families to be split, marriages to be dissolved and children to experience their parents’ unfiltered thoughts on a daily basis. Has putting our thoughts out for all to read on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis caused more problems for our society as a whole, or has it opened up a world of free speech and opinion for all? Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought, which they seldom use.” Has his thought come to life in the online society we have created? Is social networking bringing people closer, or pushing our society even deeper into our self-made solitary confinement?
These questions are being taken very seriously by many different groups of people. Online bullying has become an overwhelming problem with teens and young adults, as well as in the workplace. Without the right security measures, everything that people put out in these public domains is subject to being scrutinized and looked at by anyone in the world. Studies are being done on the effects of the amount of time that teens and young adults spend in this online universe versus the time they spend actually having peer contact. Is this way of interacting with others a constructive, healthy activity or is it just one more way to seclude oneself and hide behind the screen of a computer?
All these risks aside, what is it that society is teaching the youth of the world? Is it a constructive networking tool for businesses and professionals? Or is it a time consuming risk factor for their future? Used in the correct ways, social networking can be a great asset to the general public. However, employers are banning sights from office networks due to the decrease in productivity, co-workers are getting in raging arguments over things “posted,” and husbands and wives are stalking their spouses due to suspected infidelity.
So, is social networking in fact a benefit to global society or the devil in disguise? Researchers continue to do studies and draw conclusions, but, like the old saying goes, “Everything is good in moderation.” Using these methods as the sole social outlet is not only damaging to social skills and interaction, but can cause more problems and stress on the body and mind if used in excess. Beware what is put out for all to see. Once it is put in the viral world, it is there to stay.