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Is Social Networking a Boon or Bane in Teenagers Lives?

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DQI Bureau
New Update

It all began with the Internet in the 90s for exchange of information and over the last few years, Social Networking Sites have taken the world by storm. The trend that began with the Bulletin Board System was soon picked up by MySpace, Bebo, CyWorld, Orkut and many more. But in reality it was Facebook (FB for some) and Twitter that have revolutionized the world of SNSs.

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In fact it may sound strange now that it wasnt until 2003 that SNSs were even heard of. It is only in a span of around 7 years that social networking has picked up momentum and how. Not only have these sites garnered global attention but have sadly made you and me, self-addicts.

Easy Access

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Sites like Orkut and MySpace dont involve a tedious procedure of registration and use enabling easy access to users. One has to simply log on, sign up and become members. Whats more we can actually trace back our long lost friends. Even my mother, not very computer savvy could easily use these sites to reconnect with her old friends with whom she was out of touch for over 20 years. All thanks to a social networking site. Wow!

Facebook, invented by Mark Zuckerberg and friends to fulfil the purpose of a college year book, has become a global buzzword. The platform is now even being used for marketing by entrepreneurs considering that it has emerged as a viable, profitable marketing tool.

But the success of these social networking websites can be attributed to the youth of today who have little time to socialize in the real world thanks to their gruelling schedule of studies, tuitions and in some cases demanding jobs. The arrival of these SNSs means that the GenX can do regular status updates and writing on their contacts wall. Just a click of the button helps us to know our friends moods, their daily activities, etc. I can also ping them, sure to get a reply all within a matter of few minutes.

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Whats more, I dont have to worry about remembering birthdays or anniversaries now. Facebook does it for you and then reminds you in advance to wish them. I can even upload my pictures.

Influencing Human Behavior

Researchers suggest that the world is governed by what they call 3 degrees of influence your friends friends friend, most likely someone you dont even knowwho indirectly influence your actions and emotions. One either changes their behavior or transmits information about the behavior to others, who change their behavior. Whether we are face-to-face or virtual, social networks influence human behavior.

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The other new technology that is fast catching up is the BlackBerry Messenger and Wazzup, available on BlackBerry phones and I-Phone respectively, useful for the corporates. These allow the users of these phones to stay connected 24x7 and message each other for free. Sites like Skype and applications available on iphone also allow us to talk to our friends while viewing them.

Not All is Well

However this is not to negate the ill-effects of social networking. While Facebook initially had done us good, but the addiction has turned us emotionally dependent on our virtual relationships. We are getting hooked onto the web and our emotions for our friends and family is being reduced to expressions expressed in a few abbreviated terms over a SNS.

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Another big concern on these sites is that of privacy. One has to regularly update their privacy settings in order to ensure that their personal information is not viewed by unknown people and their pictures are not misused. Sitting behind the computer for long hours, networking with friends, also causes various health problems such as spondylitis, back pains, eye strain, headaches etc.

One can imagine the madness levels by 2020. Perhaps by then we would simply have to think about the product that we wish to acquire and just the click of a button would produce it in front of us. In other words mere visualization of things would help us to acquire them.

While the arrival of technology has definitely made our lives much simpler but it is for us to decide whether we want technology to become intrusive or to stay on the sidelines as a helpful tool.

As told to Stuti Das

stutid@cybermedia.co.in

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