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Social Networking Sites: Helpful or Harmful?

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Social Networking Sites: Helpful or Harmful?

Websites such as MySpace and Facebook have revolutionized the way human beings stay connected with friends, family, and acquaintances. These social networking sites have recently became quite controversial due to fears of cyber bullying, sexual predators, addiction, and other negative effects that can come from frequenting such sites. Others hold faithful to social networking sites and their ability to aid in meeting and staying connected with people, creating a positive self-image, staying up to date on upcoming events, and other various positive effects that can come from frequenting such sites. Differing views on social networking sites have brought about much controversy debating whether or not they should be banned or regulated among different age groups and at various institutions.

There were a few major events in history that were publicized regarding a certain incident involving social networking sites. These occurrences provide the first bit of reason for society to doubt or criticize social networking sites. Stefan Kiesbye addresses these events in "Are Social Networking Sites Harmful?" when he first mentions Lori Drew whom was accused of the cyber bullying of a Megan Meier. Drew created a fake account on MySpace where she impersonated a male teenager and went on to begin interacting with teen Megan Meier; a former friend of her daughter. Drew's further actions consisted of cyber bullying and were said to result in Meier's suicide. Another crime was blamed on social networking on January 23, 2009 by which reported on the case of Edward Richardson. Richardson was a "forty-one-year-old man who killed his estranged wife Sarah, twenty-six, because she changed her Facebook status from married to single" (Kiesbye 7). Richardson was said to have used force to gain entry into the property and continue to find Sarah and brutally attack her with a knife. There have been other circumstances that have fed the controversy of social networking sites, but the two events stated have had the largest impact. Although the cases of Drew and Richardson had an overwhelmingly negative impact on social networking sites, some people still believe that there are fundamental benefits that can come from using them.

Curtis Silver, data analyst for, is one such person that believes "The Fear of Social Media is Unfounded". Silver claims that the benefits from using social networking sites the right way outweigh the fears of using the sites. These benefits include connecting with people whom you haven't seen in years that may be involved with business that can benefit your life and with people the live outside your zip code. He also states that "with networks like Twitter, I've got a constant stream of what's going on in the world and with subjects I'm interested in" (Silver, Kiesbye 42). Social networking sites can also benefit students in the upcoming generations by helping develop internet and technology skills. It seems that one usually finds themselves turning to the computer to solve a certain task at some point of everyday life. Lauren Gerber from claims "the thing that parents don't know is that even simply going on Facebook is teaching your teenager to use the internet to their advantage." These internet skills can prove to be beneficial in the long run by providing a foundation of computer knowledge that can be transferred to an assortment of job opportunities. Social networking sites also stimulate social activity between teens and teach lessons on communication and dealings with respect of other's differences. The most prominent and noticeable benefit from being online and using social networking sites may be its impact on improving literacy skills. It is apparent that the more time spent online reading and writing on social networking



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(2011, 12). Social Networking Sites: Helpful or Harmful?. Retrieved 12, 2011, from

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