Social media has made life extremely easy for millions of people across the globe. Staying in touch with and connected to friends and family has never been easier. In the last decade, a number of social networking apps have come out, giving users a chance to experience something new on each one. Regular users have almost every social media app downloaded on their smart phones, helping them stay connected to others through various means. Many apps also provide a daily dose of knowledge and all the information about current affairs that young adults find very useful.
As beneficial as these applications are, social networking also has a huge amount of drawbacks. While considering such drawbacks, people always come back to the same two points – it is extremely addicting and harmful for the eyes and brain; and the second that people are losing that personal touch in relationships due to social media. But these are just the surface level issues with social networking, the actual problem goes way deeper.
The biggest concern that critics have is the lack of privacy of the users on such platforms. Not only do these networks ask the users to fill out extensive forms at the beginning, but also gain access to the various media stored on the smart phone. These apps automatically link themselves to the phone’s gallery and browser, saving all user information. Many a times the location is also automatically stored and recorded by these apps. Such things point very clearly towards how harmful these apps can be for a person’s privacy and what would happen if such information were to be leaked.
It is not only the apps that lead to this lack of privacy, but also the people themselves. Documenting every aspect of their life, form where they’re going to who they are going there with, individuals post every little detail on social networking platforms. They fail to realize how catastrophic it could be if this information falls into the wrong hands, and how easily they could be attacked or harassed. Posting every minute detail can have very dangerous outcomes, which makes these platforms all the more harmful.
When individuals share a lot about their personal life, they become vulnerable to harassment and bullying. Users, especially females, need to be extremely careful about who their followers are what information can lead to problems. Cases of women being harassed online for a simple photograph are innumerous. Trolls are at the ready to comment on or use any picture in such negative ways that the individual faces extreme anxiety. In many instances, the pictures of certain women are used without their consent and this can be very dangerous. A lot of the times sharing a certain opinion online can also open the floodgates of negative comments and unnecessary bullying and harassment.
People are constantly being judged and trolled for things like their body, accent, education, race, gender and so on. Such constant criticism on things that are personal issues can lead to mental health issues for the receiver. Toxic environments such as these can lead to the development of anxiety and depression. The constant judging of a person’s body can lead them to develop certain eating disorders. This sort of behavior is also constantly directed towards teenagers, who are the most vulnerable on these platforms. The bullying of women on social media platforms is a constant. From scrutinizing their every image to slut shaming, body shaming, and bringing them down publicly, women bear the brunt of being an active social media user much more than the men. Getting messages and extremely creepy suggestions and advances from strangers can be extremely triggering and leaves many fearful for their safety. Getting rape threats and death threats for rejecting a stranger on social media is also becoming an everyday occurrence for many.
Personal images of people are used to blackmail them in many cases. Using simple editing tools a simple photograph is changed into something extremely vulgar and graphic, hence making it very difficult for the person to deal with such threats and blackmails in a calm manner. Personal information that is provided so freely on these sites can be accessed and used against the very person easily.
The stress of social media is more than other people’s bullying and harassment. Watching a friend have fun without them, or watching other people post photos of certain things that an individual is insecure of , can lead to the development of chronic anxiety. The constant posting, waiting for hundreds and thousands of likes, wanting everyone’s compliments and seeing others enjoying their lives on social media, can all trigger extremely unhealthy responses in an individual. Jealousy, anger, greed, frustration and the feeling of missing out, can all create a toxic mental health situation.
It’s not just the social networking sights that cause such problems, but also the online dating platforms. From lack of privacy, to bullying, and unwanted attention from the wrong people, all are much more intensified on online dating sites. A person never knows who and what is on the other side of their screen.
The level of trust goes exponentially down in online dating, and individuals can never be sure what they are really getting into. Meeting complete strangers offline after getting to know them online is extremely risky. Their date could turn out to be a criminal or an offender. The fear of any number of crimes is very real for people engaging on online dating profiles.
Being catfished, when a person is made to believe that they are talking to one person but they turn out to be someone else, is becoming very common. Teenagers are the biggest victims of this, not realising the harmful effects of not being extremely careful on the internet. The horrors of online dating range from teenagers being catfished by forty and fifty year old adults, to actually meeting them and that ending up in a very bad way.
The main issue with social media and online dating is how people are not safe and vigilant enough and easily trusting. Over sharing details of one’s personal life and not having the correct knowledge on how to judge people, can all lead to harmful results. Social media, when used moderately and with complete precaution, can be a boon, but when a person is ignorant, it can become a bane.