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Benefits Of Social Media Outweighs The Potential Side Effect (Essay Sample)


Facebook and other forms of social media have certain values when it comes to allowing individuals,
community groups, and businesses to communicate with others.
However, recently detractors have become disillusioned and are beginning to argue that using social media has dangerous consequences for our mental health.
Do the benefits of social media outweigh the potential side-effects?
Source for background reading:
The benefits of social media outweighs the potential side effect. True or False?


The benefit of social media outweighs the potential side effect. True or false?
Institutional Affiliation
Some people consider the internet as harmful while others find it a technological breakthrough. Whichever way you look at it, its conception brought into existence social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which have altered the way people relate with each other for eternity. With over three billion people worldwide using social media, which account for forty percent of the entire population according to BBC and seventy-four percent in the United States, social media has become an integral part of human lives (Brown, 2018, Jan 5). The controversy surrounding the use of social media has grown over the years with questions on whether its benefits outweigh the risks it poses. Social media attracts numerous positive effects such as connecting people and promoting learning. However, it also draws adverse consequences such as bullying, loss of privacy, and addiction among others, which forever alter the lives of people and even kill some. So are these adverse effects enough reason to consider social media more harmful or do its positive effects outweigh its harm? Social media platforms are useful tools in promoting communication among people; however, with the numerous adverse effects, some of which bring about long-lasting effects, the benefits of social media do not outweigh the side effects for several reasons.
One of the primary reasons is that social media results in diminished privacy. Loss of privacy is among the most disconcerting consequences of social media affecting society. “At home, on the couch, eating snacks as I watch my favorite movie.” Such a post is one among many social media users share with the world with the belief that the security settings in platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram ensure their data is safe. However, research conducted in 2010 by Northwestern University in collaboration with Max Planck Institute for Software Systems discovered that by filtering through the different posts, personal information people leave in such platforms and friends, an algorithm can sufficiently infer personal information despite the privacy settings. For example, the software can discover a person’s educational history, schools and university attended, home town and even address among other private information (Mislove, Viswanath, Gummadi & Druschel, 2010. pp.4-8). Also, the privacy settings in these platforms require constant updating. However, failure to do so or facing difficulties in their updating leaves a lot of users’ information exposed to the public, thereby losing their privacy. Consequently, social media causes people to share with everyone private information, which they would not usually share on one-on-one interactions.
The second reason social media benefits do not outweigh its negative side effects is cyberbullying. The increased usage of social media platforms has increased the cases of cyberbullying. Research by Pew Research Center in 2018 revealed that 59% of all teenagers in the United States had experienced different types of cyberbullying. The bullying range from abuses types on their social media accounts or sent as text messages, spreading of false rumors online, threats, receiving explicit images and their private images shared online (Anderson, 2018). These platforms like Facebook and Twitter, allow bullies to hide behind pseudo accounts and hurt others because they are anonymous and it is difficult to stop them; thus, they get away with it. Cyberbullying results in some people committing suicide due to the circulation of their private images online or repeated emotional abuse. Likewise, adults also face cyberbullying. For example, when coworkers develop misunderstandi...

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