The Beauty of Online Moderation
Many users testify that the internet is very helpful in achieving a much interactive communication with other people. On the other hand, some believe that they are merely electronic tools which have come to disillusion society into believing that they are having “real communication” when in fact, they are merely “virtually speaking” or “virtually interacting” with each other. However, since it is clear that internet has positive and negative effects to the communication of people, the utilization of this technology must be kept in moderation to avoid excessive consumption which can lead to an unhealthy way of life.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Internet and Social Networking Sites
A lot of activities can be done on the internet nowadays such as voicing out opinions through blogs, earning money at home through online advertising and marketing, and connecting instantly with other people through numerous online messengers. The internet can even be more updated than television.
There are even researches that show how internet has become a tool to avoid health problems in middle-aged people to avoid dementia. The article presents findings that reveal how searching internet engines can exercise the mind of older people and can therefore avoid dementia. The research was based on 24 volunteers whose ages range from 55 to 76. It shows that internet searching stimulates more brain activity than simple book reading (BBC).
Furthermore, the increase of social networking sites also counts in the success of the internet as a powerful tool of communication. Majority of FaceBook, MySpace, and Twitter users claim that these social networking sites produce tighter social linkages and greater engagement. The features of these sites include the ability to chat with an online friend, widen social networks, meet new acquaintances, post updates about one’s life in an instant, and share multimedia such as photos and videos. It actually insinuates a sense of belongingness within a group. In fact, a researcher believes that the internet has become a “new global campfire” (Mollman). It has become a “place where we gather to argue, laugh, talk, learn, love, turn strangers into friends, and to get a sense of belonging” (Mollman). Social networking sites focus on wider sets of friendships and instant communication between friends. They can instantly update their profiles and let their networks know how they are doing. Facebook and MySpace even “allow users to form groups based on mutual interests” (Rosen 19). Like what Mollman discusses in his article, these social networking sites can contribute to the happiness of an individual since belongingness is believed to be “a strong a predictor of happiness” (Mollman).
However, other studies show that internet can also form an addiction which is harmful to its users. Based on a scholarly study, “in the early 90s, critics held the diffusion of Internet as evidence of individuals’ increasing alienation from society and public life” (Valenzuela, Park, and Kee 3). Extensive hours spent on online gaming, chatting, watching uploaded videos on YouTube, and other online activities can detach a person from his or her world outside. Internet isolates people from other group and family activities such as watching television together (Nie, Hillygus, and Erbring 231). This can cause lack of personal interaction with family, friends, and even the loss of a job if one is already addicted. Scholars also argue that social networking sites can be perilous to some extent. “Unsafe disclosure of information, cyberbullying, addiction, risky behavior, and contacting dangerous communities are but a few of the concerns raised in the media about the use of online social networks” (Valenzuela et al. 3). Since these sites include features which disseminate information from one profile to another, it poses the risk of privacy invasion. A person can easily view one’s public information such as photos, phone numbers, email address, and other personal information. In addition to these dangers, social networking sites also seem to produce a less meaningful way of communicating with people. People enjoy what these websites can provide because they give them a sense of belongingness. However, the fact that their feeling of belongingness is merely “virtual” because they do less personal interactions may not be considered “real” communication at all.
Clearly, the internet would be around for more decades to come, and advising people to refrain from using it would be a mindless thing to do. It has eased a great deal of human labor with regard to research, instant communication, and updated news. It has crossed the boundaries that other communication mediums such as telephone, radio, and television have limits to. The most important purpose of the internet is its capability to do things in a click of a mouse—to save precious time and not to acquire more time from the user. However, there are still risks which are associated with this kind of instant communication. Moreover, engaging and depending excessively on these types of communication can lessen a person’s value for communication. Personal interaction and face-to-face communication is still the best way to socialize with people and make new friends. Virtual communication cannot suffice the rewards that personal communication provides.
It is also crucial to take into account that these social networking sites should be utilized with moderation to avoid lack of personal interaction with other people which is an important factor of one’s social life. To avoid internet addiction and loss of quality time with loved ones, it is important for internet users to be responsible in their time management. They should only have a specific timeframe in using the internet. In addition, discipline and self-control must be maintained. The users must always make sure that they still have enough time to spend with the family. This way, internet would not become a hindrance to the personal relationships of people; rather, they would be able to strengthen their ties.
Studies show that internet and social networking sites constitute a duo of powerful communication. Benefits from the internet and social networking sites range from the ability of these mediums to provide daily updated information and interactive online communication. There are ambivalent claims coming from the opposite sides of the issue, but it is clear that negative effects can only arise once the medium is consumed excessively. There should always be moderation in utilizing everything that we have now especially in the present time when information and technology rule the surface of the planet. The internet is threatening to decline human interaction once neglected fully, and extremes can always produce undesirable effects.
BBC. “Internet Use ‘Good for the Brain’.” BBC News. 14 October 2008. 5 March 2009 <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7667610.stm>.
Mollman, Steve. “Can Happiness be Found Online?” CNN.com/Technology. 19 February 2009. 5 March 2009 <http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/02/19/db.happy.online/index.html#cnnSTCText>
Nie, Norman H., Sunshine Hillygus, and Lutz Erbring. “Internet Use, Interpersonal relations,and Sociability: A Time Diary Study.” The Internet in Everyday Life. Eds. Barry Wellman and Caroline A. Haythornthwaite. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2002. 215-243.
Rosen, Christine. “Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism.” New Atlantis. Summer (2007): 15–31. 22 March 2009 < http://www.thenewatlantis.com/docLib/TNA17-Rosen.pdf>.
Valenzuela, Sebastián., Namsu Park. and Kerk F. Kee. “Lessons from Facebook: The Effect of Social Network Sites on College Students’ Social Capital.” 5 March 2009. <http://online.journalism.utexas.edu/2008/papers/Valenzuela.pdf>.
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