Impact of Facebook on Youth

FacebookFacebook is nothing more than an agent to communication, and yet, it is so much more than that. At a fleeting look, a user can learn everything from what gender a Facebook member is, to what religion they believe in, what school they attend, and their likes and dislikes, all with the click of a mouse. A huge population of students uses Facebook to keep in touch with friends, share photographs and videos and post regular updates of their movements and thoughts.

Existing research shows that young folks are stimulated to join these sites to keep strong relations with friends, to build up ties with new acquaintances, and, to a lesser degree, to meet new people online. At the same time, sites like Facebook allow them to exchange news and discuss both public and private issues.

Not long ago, the advent of television spawned fears of mass mediatization. Similarly, in the early 90s, critics held the diffusion of the Internet as evidence of individuals increasing alienation from society and public life. The story with social network sites (SNS) such as Facebook and MySpace is not any different. Unsafe disclosure of information, cyberbullying, addiction, risky behaviour and contacting dangerous communities are but a few of the concerns raised in the media about the use of online social networks.

Social networking websites like facebook are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned. It is also known to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centered.

But while the social networking sites are in vogue and commercially beneficial, a growing number of psychologists and neuroscientists believe they may be doing more harm than good.

Social network sites risk infantilising, leaving the youth characterized by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathize and an insecure sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist.

In other words, social networking sites are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance.

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