A piece highlighting the good and bad things about using social networking websites. Includes helpful tips on how to stay safe when online.
Social networking is taking over the world. In the UK alone over 10 million people are users of MySpace and over 3 million people are users of facebook. My question is this: are social networking sites good for our society?
Social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook have made communication much easier. Friends’ and family now have a quicker, cheaper way of keeping in touch, making important relationships easier to maintain.
Not only does a social networking site help you keep in touch with friends you already have, but they also help you form new relationships. People can find others who share the same interests or hobbies and form friendships with them. These sites help bring together people from all different cultures and races: breaking down boundaries that may otherwise exist in everyday life. People are able to make friends with people they would never have even met without using a networking site.
Social networking sites, especially MySpace gives bands that would otherwise be unheard of a chance to build up a fan base and show off their talent. It also gives bands a chance to interact and connect directly with fans.
Bands aren’t the only people who drum up business through these sites. Facebook is used to give businesses more exposure.
Even those who see life from the rosiest of spectacles have to admit there are drawbacks to using social networking websites. People can use these sites to prey on the naive and vunerable. This can be done in a number of ways including grooming and identity fraud.
Just think about all of the sensitive information that people post on these websites. Details commonly found include: dates of birth, addressees, marital statuses, and jobs. All of this can be used against you by a fraudster.
It is also easier for people to harass, stalk and bully you through these sites.
Not only this but people aren’t always who they say they are. This could mean someone befriending you only to gain as much personal and sensitive information as they can. This too can be used against you.
Although it is true that legitimate businesses uses sites such as MySpace and facebook, it is also true that people could invent fake businesses or products and advertise them on social networking sites, in a bid to take your money.
There are very real dangers surrounding social networking and so when using these sites people should take precautions. Below are some of the things people are advised to do when using social networking :
· Restrict access to your profile or page to people that you know face to face, such as family and friends.
· Don’t use a username that reveals anything about you. Stay clear from using your real name or age.
· Keep personal information to yourself. Don’t post things such as: addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, credit and debit card numbers or the name of your school or work.
· Remember that not everyone is trustworthy. Keep in mind that people lie.
· Avoid meeting people you have only met online.
· Trust your own instincts if you are suspicious or feel uncomfortable when talking to someone.
Although the dangers with using social networking sites are very serious , in my opinion they are good for our society as long as the correct precautions are taken. However, when it comes down to whether social networking is right for you that is something only you can decide, using your own judgment and past experiences. Before becoming a member of a social networking website do your homework on what they have to offer but also find out about the risks involved.