[Letters] Social networking services: Good or bad?

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[Letters] Social networking services: Good or bad?

Social networking services (SNS) have become powerful technologies in the last decade and even in Korean society with more than 66.5 percent of the country’s population using these Web sites. The popularity of SNS increased drastically because of its efficiency and convenience when contacting friends and sharing ideas around the world. Although there are many positive aspects that SNS have to offer, there are many disadvantages as well. SNS can be harmful to people because of online addiction, cyberbullying and changes in social interaction.

One of the disadvantages of SNS is related online addiction. People often feel nervous and anxious when their smartphones are not with them. There was a 21-year-old man on television who was so addicted to SNS that he would feel really nervous if he didn’t check his online profile every 30 minutes. A recent survey conducted by Retrevo found that among 1,000 social media users, 48 percent of them check their SNS in bed and during the night even though they check their sites throughout the day. Also, from this survey, 56 percent of social media users check their social network sites once a day and more surprisingly, 12 percent of them constantly check their sites. This addiction problem is very serious and prevalent because this can affect people’s daily lives.

Second, SNS are harmful for people because of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that occurs online. It is very easy to find harmful comments on many sites and the prevalence of swear words is increasing.

This is a very serious problem for young adults because they are not used to seeing and hearing those maledictions and they could start using those curse words without realizing how bad they really are. According to information by a cyberbullying research center, about 20.8 percent of students from their research group have experienced cyberbullying. Also from this research, victims of cyberbullying scored an average of 2.67 points on the self-esteem scale while nonvictims scored an average of 3.01. Other symptoms derived from cyberbullying are dropping in grades, higher suicide rates and depression. Thus, the effects of experiencing cyberbullying clearly address the negative aspects of SNS.

Another disadvantage is that people are having less face-to-face interactions. Many people communicate through smartphones and the Internet. In other words, SNS undermine the traditional way of interacting: meeting in person. This will eventually lead to a deterioration of social skills and can become a serious problem because companies will not pick employees who do not have social skills. Social skills are essential in maintaining and creating good relationships and is a very important trait in the business world. Hence, SNS have many negative attributions.

In conclusion, SNS have more negative aspects than the positive ones because of related addiction problems, cyberbullying and its discouragement of traditional means of interacting. Many people believe that SNS are a great way to interact with friends and family and an awesome opportunity to show their identities. However, they interrupt daily lives by distracting people and can negatively impact users. By realizing the disadvantages as mentioned above, people should try to care less about their online identities.

Kwon Ji-yoon, a student at Dongguk University, Seoul
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