Around seven out of ten Americans (69%) use social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, as of 2018, up from 26% in 2008. On social media sites, users may develop biographical profiles, communicate with friends and strangers, do research, and share thoughts, photos, music, links, and more.
Are Social Networking Sites Good For Our Society? Here are some Proponents’ and Opponents’ argument.
Social media spreads information faster than any other media. 78.5% of traditional media reporters polled used social media to check for breaking news. 59% of Twitter users and 31% of Facebook users polled followed breaking news on these sites. Social media sites are one of the top news sources for 46% of Americans, compared to 66% for television, 26% for printed newspapers, and 23% for radio.
Social media enables the spread of unreliable and false information. 64% of people who use Twitter for news say that they have encountered something they “later discovered wasn’t true,” and 16% of Twitter news users say that “they had retweeted or posted a tweet they later discovered to be false.”
Law enforcement uses social media to catch and prosecute criminals. 73% of federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals surveyed think “social media helps solve crimes more quickly.” A survey by the International Association of Chiefs of Police found that 85% of police departments use social media to solve crimes.
Social media lacks privacy and exposes users to government and corporate intrusions. 81% of people surveyed feel “not very” or “not at all” secure when using social media sites to share private information. 48% of people reported some difficulty in managing their privacy settings. 13 million users said they had not set or did not know about Facebook’s privacy settings.
Social media sites help students do better at school. 59% of students with access to the Internet report that they use social media to discuss educational topics and 50% use the sites to talk about school assignments. After George Middle School in Portland, Oregon, introduced a social media program to engage students, grades went up by 50%, chronic absenteeism went down by 33%, and 20% of students school-wide voluntarily completed extra-credit assignments.
Students who are heavy social media users tend to have lower grades. 31% of teens say that using social media during homework reduces the quality of their work. Students who used social media had an average GPA of 3.06 while non-users had an average GPA of 3.82. Students who used social media while studying scored 20% lower on tests.
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