Social Network – A ‘Boon’ or a ‘Bane’? By : Imran Choudhury. (Shillong,India)

1380385_709127515783945_855913020_n   Imran  Choudhury.

Social Network – A ‘Boon’ or a ‘Bane’?  

I update my Facebook status before I sit for my final exams, I check-in every time I use the restroom. I post selfies with my new-born nephew even before he is picked up from the hospital and I judge my IQ based on the results of an online app. In short, I am a Facebook addict.

You can connect to old friends, remember birthdays, study, joke and do much more online. Facebook for me is about personal goals. I would be lost without my Facebook account.

Nowadays, social media plays an important role in teenagers’ life. The vast majority of teenagers in India are daily Facebook users. But does social media really have a positive impact on us? To me the answer is yes. For the vast majority of youngsters, the overall impact on social media has been positive. It of course helps us stay connected even if we are thousands of miles away, and thus strengthen relationships, it keeps us up to date with what’s going on around the world and so on.

As a teenager, it’s also very important to understand what’s going on around us rather than just knowing what’s going with friends. Nowadays we receive digital news from social media sites rather than turning on news channel or reading newspaper. 70% of us receive most of the news national or global we read or watch via Facebook, It’s amazing how fast news spread on social networking sites.

Just Giving, United Nations Aid, Asian Development Bank and World Health Organization widely use Facebook as a fund-raising channel. All one needs is an active Paypal account and a cause to get started. From advocating environmental concerns to women’s safety. Facebook’s social currency can easily be converted into social opportunity.

Facebook might have initially been invented for social purposes but its uses go far beyond just meeting new people today. From advice on scholarship interviews to tips on solving the GMAT, online student groups and forums discuss millions of topics each year.Some official university and campus groups even have special invite-only portals by way of which class notes, lectures, schedules and exam results can be shared and posted through Facebook.Topics often go beyond academics and many students seek personal counselling and relationship advice from like-minded people via Facebook’s many forums and pages.

But here is the BIG question- is Social Networking really a boon or a bane? Especially in the case of students and today’s generation. As my  teacher once said, we would probably be taking out our phone and send a ‘Hi!’ to a person thousands of miles away but won’t even greet the person sitting next to us. Social Network indeed brings people closer who’s literally far away but sometimes takes us far away from the people who’s literally near. Today we prefer to text or call a person rather than going to meet them. This sometimes increases the distance between the people and the device which was supposed to bring people close becomes the key factor that makes them un-social. In parties and get-togethers we are so lost in our phones that we don’t mix up with the people present.

No doubt social networking gives opportunity to interact with different people and make new friends across the world. But many are asking if the social networking sites are indeed being used for such productive reasons. The interaction with the family members, the concentration towards studies comes drastically down. Moreover so many youngsters are being lured by conmen and other shady individuals through these sites and this is leading to grave risk. A recent incident of an IIM student committing suicide after knowing about her boyfriend through a social networking site is a clear example of how extreme things can become.

At a time when facebook comments and posts are valid terms for divorce, it’s not uncommon to find wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends stalking each other online.

All one needs to do is create a fake username. While Facebook India business manager PavanVarma stresses that the company is making a huge effort to crack down on fake profiles, the fact remains that one’s privacy can easily be compromised online if one doesn’t understand online privacy options clearly. Very few youngsters care if third party apps can access their profile or not as they are yet to be made aware of the downside of disclosing their private details online.

We all know, excess of anything is bad. What initially started as tools for enhancing knowledge and to communicate has now become means of addiction for most of the youngsters today. Regular users have a tendency to stay in that virtual world  for a longer period of time than at the real world. This has made people lose their valuable time and energy beyond their conscious. This in turn takes a toll on the health of the users and also on their study/work performance.

Like every other technological marvel ever invented, the ultimate value of the social networks lies in hands of its users. But still we need to be cautious of what level of personal information we reveal.The experts are suggesting that using of social networking sites is not wrong but the way it is being used is important, we must be aware about the dos and don’ts . We must know the overall development activities instead of getting glued to the mobile phones and computers and spending precious time chatting all the time. So we students from our end must take initiative to find out how best such sites can be used. So folks, wake up and use technology as a boon and not a bane.

Thank You.


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