The Dangers of Social Networking Sites in College 2

Social NetworkingToday’s post is a guest post written by Britney Wilkins.  She writes about classroom videos on SmartTeaching.org.

The emergence of Facebook and MySpace in 2003 opened up a new way for students to keep in contact with each other, as Facebook spiraled from exclusively Harvard-only to worldwide within a few years. MySpace was always open to the general internet public and proved to push forward in the popularity of social networking sites which began to infiltrate schools in no time at all. While these sites have developed a way to stay in contact with people who you no longer see on a regular basis, they have also proven to be a way in which to waste countless hours online while browsing through your friend updates. Furthermore, they have the prospect of breeding dangerous internet addictions.

Time-Waster

The overarching reason to avoid many social networking sites is their ability to addict the user on a first-time basis. Once you sign up for these sites, you almost begin to constantly log-in so that you are informed of all the latest gossip within your circle of friends or see the party pictures from last weekend. This has a detrimental effect on your grades when you are trying to study or write a paper; this type of distraction is especially difficult because you are typically online when writing a paper or studying which makes the lure of “quickly” checking your homepage much more alluring.

Internet Addiction

Internet addiction has become a dangerous problem within the web word, a close second after video-game addiction. Not only does this have a drastic effect on your social life, but it can begin to take over your life in general, as you live in a virtual world instead of the real world. By logging into these sites for hours at a time, you begin to lose sight of experiencing anything “real” and instead live vicariously through your friend updates. Staying on your computer all day is not a healthy thing for anyone to do, but the easy ability to browse everyone’s profile in your network has made this addiction flourish in many cases.

Inappropriate Information

One of the most dangerous aspects about social networking sites is the ability of a future employer or a school official to see your profile without your knowledge. While many students have now changed their privacy settings, there are still many students who have inappropriate information or pictures on their profile which can get them kicked out of an organization or not considered for a job. It has therefore become increasingly important that you censor out specific bits of information that you would not want seen by these types of individuals. Facebook has allowed many people around the world to get a glimpse into others’ lives, but at the same time it has also provided the user with privacy settings to curb this “glimpse”. Find the privacy settings and implement them immediately to prevent future embarrassment!

Social media and social networking have revolutionized the internet world and have even infiltrated the business world. While most people have Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter profiles, it is still more important than ever to limit your time spent on these sites and hide information about your self that is seemingly inappropriate for others to view.

{Image by martin.canchola}

2 thoughts on “The Dangers of Social Networking Sites in College

  1. Reply Harish Sep 9,2009 8:04 AM

    as with everything else, moderation is the key 🙂 with the web 2.0 usage be it social networking or gaming r for that matter the Internet on a whole.

  2. Reply Sandra Proulx Sep 14,2009 12:30 PM

    The privacy settings on Facebook give you the opportunity to see your profile as someone you are connected with would see it (such as a boss or parent). From the home page, go to:

    Settings –> Manage Privacy Settings –> Profile –> at the top you’ll see a field that says “See how a friend sees your profile”.

    Fill in the box with a friend / boss / coworker’s name. This feature doesn’t work for someone you’re not friends with, but it’s a nice feature to have just to double check that your mom or little sister isn’t able to see information you’re uncomfortable with.

    But really, a good rule of thumb is just to not put inappropriate photos & information up there in the first place. Glitches happen and you shouldn’t always trust privacy settings 100%. It’s best to save yourself the embarrassment and omit this kind of stuff from your online profiles to begin with.

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