What is a Social Network?
Basically, a social network is a circle of friends. Technology, through the Internet, has provided more ways than ever before to find people with whom you have things in common. Now you can connect with people in your local area or anywhere in the world – people whose paths you wouldn’t ordinarily cross.
So now, essentially a social network is an online location where a user can:
• create their own online identity and profile
• include personal information, photos, blog entries and music clips
• share information with other people directly access even more people via the online “network”
Some of Top Social Networking Sites are
• My Space
• Black Planet
Social networking on the Internet took off several years ago, and now there are hundreds of sites that bring people together. It seems to be good right? Yes of course, the benefits are
• Stay in touch with friends
• Find and connect with old friends
• Make plans with others
• Make new friends
• Communicate over long distance
• Ability to practice social skills
• Show creativity
• Practice using emerging technologies
• Young people can express themselves without fear of rejection.
• Building skills using guided social interaction such as using blogs and message boards
But the bad side effects are
While the Internet has given us wonderful new ways to connect, not everyone out there really wants to be a friend. More and more, we need to make sure we understand the dangers found on the Web so that we can help keep ourselves, our children, and our students safe.
• Use of personal profiles and pictures or graphics are emphasized as a way to express creativity and let the world see the user as he or she wants to be seen.
• Personal information can led the user into in appropriate subject areas, such as sexual orientation.
• Video and audio selections can expose users to explicit scenes and lyrics.
Face Book good or bad? OR
Social Networking: Boon or Bane?
On a positive note, social media allows kids to practice life behind a safety curtain, allowing them to share personal information with their friends and not have to deal with their reactions right away. This could be a plus point for shy kids and could help to get them out of their shells.
Many teachers are taking advantage of these sites, and are creating accounts for themselves so that they might hold their students accountable for actions, and also update them on assignments, tests, etc. In fact, one particular open-source networking site, Elgg, allows students and teachers alike to create profiles, blogs, and is entirely intended to enhance the educational experience by giving students a place to go outside of class to contact teachers, keep current on assignments, projects, and quizzes, and to ensure, to the best of their abilities, that they do not shirk responsibility; if anything, the adaptability of networking sites is doing more good for education than anything.
Sarojini Naidu College lecturer Seema Raizada said it is wrong to say that students are harmed by being active on social networking sites. In present time, world is becoming a global village and social networking sites are the platforms which provide a student to learn, to understand, to communicate. Now a day it is seen that students have knowledge and active participation in social, political issues which in earlier times was difficult for a student to achieve.
A school student, said, “I used to be very active on social networking sites. More than 500 friends and several activities, consumed my most of the time. But after my half yearly examinations result lowered by 20 per cent I felt it was just due to my over social networking. After deactivating my profiles on several websites, now my results have improved.”
Social networking sites are acting as a major distraction for students as they are spending too much time on them, instead of utilising their time on books, newspapers and other educational resources.
The social networking sites generally contain shallow and trivial information in comparison to other sources of learning. Parents in particular and schools in general are worried over the future prospects of their children as they spend much of their valuable time on social networking sites.
Both, schoolteachers and parents are also facing problems with this increasing popularity of social networking sites among students. In some of the schools, the authorities have strictly warned students not to be a part of them otherwise they would face the music.
On the other hand, there are schools, where the authorities are least bothered whether the students are members of these sites and the teachers and students are friends to each other on those sites.
While playing games, listening to music or reading books, a student devotes just that much time while he is doing the activity, but on social networking sites, the student even when not browsing only thinks about the next update or comment he or she might post which is more harmful.
Many students give reasons that by social networking they enhance their knowledge but in reality social networking sites only impart trivial knowledge, but in the name of that knowledge students waste time on so called gossips instead of doing something productive or educative.
The concern is that vulnerable teenagers, with limited experience of the world, are entering an unknown place without adult guidance. With such a small portion of the population having a presence online, any adolescent is exposed to contacts with strangers whose intent was immediate suspect.
Another aspect is that parents are also addicted to social networking sites and they also regularly go online to check updates on websites. This act encourages students too. Survey reports suggest that students’ percentages have deteriorated after they opened a social networking site account. Students are spending too much time on it, more than what they used to spend on video games and playing and there is not much parents can do because children see parents doing the same every mornings.
While many parents could be doing more important tasks, they prefer surfing and browsing on social networking sites. Parents cannot teach their wards by giving example if they themselves do not follow one.
In a research carried out on the school and college students to study affects of social networking, it was found that young people, who use video games and social media more frequently, tend to have more stomachaches and suffer from sleeping problems along with anxiety and depression.
According to the research, the more frequently young people used social networking sites; the more likely they were going to develop an anti-social personality disorder. It is also said they were likely to suffer from paranoia, anxiety and alcohol abuse.
The survey also analysed the studying habits of middle school, high school and college students. It was found that most students were only able to stay focused on their studies for about three minutes before engaging in some kind of communication like texting or mobile phone apps. The students who logged into their social networking sites profile during studying ended up doing worse on their exams than those who did not.
It suggested that the parents should have constant, open conversations with their kids about how they are using technology, and not make judgments so they feel comfortable discussing how they behave with other kids online. This could make children more aware that what they say online can hurt others and help them to avoid cyber-bullying.