Social Networking

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College student Tyler Clementi committed suicide for being harassed via Twitter. Clementi's family says they believe the 18-year-old freshman jumped to his death off the George Washington Bridge September 23 after allegedly being secretly videotaped by two classmates in a sexual encounter with another man. Today, the issues surrounding Clementi's death and charges against the students Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, (who filmed the incident), both 18, have been seen across front pages and followed carefully by the public. With just a few tweets and remote access to a web cam, the fates of these college freshmen were altered forever.

Social networking sites have grown tremendously in the last few years. People all around the world use sites such as Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter. Facebook has about 300 million users world wide. While these sites may be fun, there are also many dangers that come along with having online profiles. Teens who have online profiles may not realize that every status or photo they post can be retrieved even after deleting. Later on in life people may realize the consequences, such as loosing a job or not getting into a Fraternity or Sorority.
Social networking sites are also an easy tool for bullying. People may say things over the internet that they would not have said in person. A 2009 study found that 17.3% of middle school students have been victims of cyber bullying (ProCon.org). While sitting in front of a computer for a long amount of time, talking to people online, you loose face to face interaction time. People may become less social in person because they are used to talking via the internet. Also using these sites frequently can cause personality and brain disorders in children such as the inability to have real conversations. Social networking site can be very harmful to young kids when over using or using for the wrong purpose.

Even though there is a downside to Social networking, there is also an upside. These sites such as Facebook or Myspace, have allowed many people to reconnect with old friends and family. Social Networking creates and online world for you to be able to blog your thoughts and get your feelings out there. It can also be a chance to meet new people who have the same interests as you. 55% of students who access the internet say the use social networking sites so discuss educational topis including career and college planning (ProCon.org). These sites can be good to ask your friends for help. To make social networking safer a lot of sites have set up new privacy terms and age limits to prevent the amount of online predators. Social networking can also be good for keeping up with your family and friends. If you want to know what’s going on, such as parties or concerts it is all mostly done via Facebook or MySpace now by creating events and inviting your friends to them. Many social activities are done/handled by these social networking sites now.

Social networking is fun, almost everyone does it or has an online profile. Social networking can be dangerous but the more dangers peoples know about the more they can protect themselves. People can set up their privacy so only certain people can see their profile and what they are doing. So even though social networking sites can be harmful, there are also many positive things about them, and many ways to stay safe. While doing your daily blogging or networking, you have to be careful and aware of the dangers that do exist out there. And maybe if more of us are more aware we can prevent these awful things from happening. Could you maybe be the change that prevents the next suicide out there?





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