There are many potential problems with social networking sites and the people that use them. Social networking sites allow users to search and add friends and family send messages and comment on others profile pages including pictures and posts.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter, instagram and MySpace have become a way of life for teens and adults today. While all of these sights are a great way to interact with friends and play games these types of social networking sites are not without danger.
26 million people in the UK use Facebook one of the most popular sites although there are many pros and cons to using these sites.
In terms of the positive aspects of social networks, it could be argued that they are a very cheap (in fact free) way of communicating. Therefore many teenagers use Facebook to contact friends and family if they don’t have a phone or another way to contact them. Also most way to contact people cost money. Also, law enforcement officers find it useful to catch criminals; it is a good way to contact friends and you can share your thoughts and interests with those with similar interests by joining the groups and forums.
However there are a number of disadvantages regarding social networking sites including: cyber bullying, addiction, no face to face chat. Therefore, there is no proof of who you are talking to. There have been many incidents regarding cyber bullying and criminal offences and involving the police because of how bad the incidents can be and even lead to suicides and death. Many people make fake profile pictures to draw young teenagers in and make them think that they really like them and persuade them to trust them.
An example; David Knight was oblivious to a website created all about him. For months, there had been a website that made fun of David and his family. They said things along the lines of that he was a paedophile, he’s gay and dirty. The website invited others to actively be involved with bashing this boy. Along with the website, people were sending him hateful emails telling him how much they don’t like him. Thankfully, David did not physically harm himself like others you will read about.
We asked a member of staff at Preston lodge high school what they thought about social networking sites, what they think about cyber bullying and how to prevent it. Here is a quote from a member of staff about how he feels about social networking. We asked him how he how he feels about the outcomes of bullying on social networking sites, his reply was “I think it’s a disgrace in the way people are targeted using social networking sites particularly. We often hear for example people who take on the role of somebody else because of course on social networking sites you can be anonymous if you want to and they will send abuse to people using social networking sites. I actually think it is really cowardly and as well it’s typical of bullies to be that cowardly in that way and how they do it anonymously”
We also asked him how he thinks the best way to prevent it from happening. This was his reply “I think the best way is to make sure they have effective monitoring of things like Facebook and twitter. It is not like you can shut it down or stop it in anyway”.
By Niamh, Niamh and Erin.