Effect of Social Networking on Adolescents

A few years ago, Orkut came into fashion. It included features to keep people around the world connected, more specifically, friends connected. These features acted like magnets for young teenagers. Every person had his or her own profile which could be viewed by any other person around the globe. Its other fantastic features were to upload pictures of yourself, or videos which a person wanted to show to his/her friends. Friends were also given the option to rate the person on his/her personality, write testimonials, and write in his “personal” scrapbook which also was accessible to any person having an Orkut account. It was fun at first, teenagers spent hours and hours just ‘Orkutting’.

It is at this stage when social networking started showing its negative effect on everyone or rather people started getting influenced by the negative aspect of social networking. Young attention seeking teenagers would put their “Photoshoped” picture for sheer vanity or to grab attention. It seemed more important to have a hundred plus friends or some thousand plus scraps or a 100% coolness in the personality rather than to be actually close to those friends who live far away. Teenagers, who used to think they were inferior to others, used Orkut or for that matter any social networking site to satisfy the need to be popular. Then there was the entry of bad-elements of the society- the most “in thing” was to be the most negative. A good user could not even make out which profile was truly genuine. To take revenge fake profiles were created, humiliating that person openly in front of the whole world. There were many suicide cases linked with social networking. The orthodox society of India had put a ban on these sites for their children. The social impact of these sites seemed to be never ending…

Looking at this chaos, Orkut, Facebook and many others finally included serious privacy settings. Now the user could choose, how much to be social and yet be safe. Still, it is the user who has to be cautious all the time. This certainly is work on the part of the user. To be frank, in this case, emailing was much better- there was more privacy, more security, time was taken out by the person to keep in touch with the friend and also there was nothing to worry about.

After many ups and downs of the new features of web 2.0, social networking has practically become a Big Yawn and a time pass. This is primarily because, the prospect of making new friends doesn’t excite anymore, trying out new applications isn’t fun because its too predictable and more importantly, internet is virtual and not real. The real world still doesn’t beat the virtual world in any way.

For those still glued to their keyboards, I suggest them to open their windows and look at the world outside.

Shambhavi Sharan

[Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/mringlein/2798993166/]