Many people have a presence on one of the social networking sites and let's admit it, many of us are addicted to it - and why not, for it is the quickest way to contact our friends and make a long "friend's list". However, like every good thing, it has a flip side as well. Yes, social networking sites such as Facebook, My Space and Tumblr etc, can also have a negative effect. Here are some of the reasons why:
Invasion of privacy
We gladly put our photographs and information on our 'page'. However, we are little aware that we are often posting information that we would probably never have given away in real life, and if you boast about internet privacy, it is a well researched fact that your "friend's list" is enough for anyone to get most of the details about you that you might not ordinarily hand out. So, beware.Lack of socialisation
Let's face it, our thousands of friends in our list are really not the ones we call on when we are alone. Instead, the time spent on the internet takes away the time we would otherwise have spent socialising and meeting 'real' people in a 'real environment'.Negative effects on health
Researchers have found that there appears to be a positive correlation between hyper networking, which is more than three hours of internet time, and negative health behaviour such as depression, drug abuse and isolation among teenagers. In extreme cases, the negative effect can even extend to suicide. Isolation
We might be getting 'connected' with our online friends every day but physically, we are spending less and less time outdoors and with other human beings. This lack of physical contact with our fellow human being can result in many symptoms including depression, somatic symptoms, and anxiety. Defamation
There are times when companies face a scenario where disgruntled employees speak their mind, defaming the company's good name. Social networking sites have also been famous for defaming and negatively portraying brands, companies, celebrities, as well as members of the general public. Accidental leakage of confidential information
Many slips happen and in the case of social media marketing, confidential information can be released - and once it's out there, it cannot be retrieved. What's more, since it reaches such a wide audience, the impact is a lot greater had the leak been in a more 'real' setting. Identity theft
Another area that has correspondingly increased with the increase of social networking sites is identity theft. With personal information so easily available it can also be easily stolen. The cases where information is taken from social networking sites are soaring.Stalking and misbehaviour
Availability of one's personal information so easily can also make one prey for possible stalkers, as many of us have seen. The misuse of photographs, personal information as well as 'tagging' photographs with other identities, puts one in danger and can be a cause of discomfort.
There are many other instances where social networking has changed our behaviour but not in good ways. The language we use has become poorer with many grammatical mistakes; the use of social networking by employees while working has decreased their performance, individuals' reputations have also been harmed in many ways. However, just as a coin has two faces, so does social media. The good and the bad go hand-in-hand but more than anything else all you need to be is vigilant and create balance.