Research
 

Social Addiction

            Students rely on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram more than they rely on food to nourish their bodies nowadays.  For instance, every Facebook user kills on average over 15.5 hours a month on the sites. It is noticeable that the more attention students are giving these social networks, the more poorly they do in school. Younger students carelessly expose all their personal information on these social networks. Also, as these sites continue to grow so does cyber bullying. Schools that contain grades k-12 should have blocked internet access to social networks because they have a negative impact on the academic performance of students, they make students more prone to dangers on the internet, and they are the main locations of cyber bullying.

            Social networking sites frequently have a negative impact on the academic performance of students.  Sanzhar Nayzabekov says in her article “Negative impact of social networking sites on academic performance of students”, found on the website Academia.edu, “Despite the fact that a relatively large number of social network sites including Facebook were initially created for learning purposes, there is some evidence that most social network site users show almost no attitudes towards finding academic information” (6). In fact, the use of these social networks often results in lower grades.  For example, Naizabekov also says a large amount of Facebook users check their Facebook a significant amount of times throughout the day while updating their statuses more than 5 times per day (4). With that being said, it is quite hard for a student focusing on status updates and what’s new on the social media during class period to be focused on what is being taught in class, thus reflecting on the grades that they receive. Studies show that the distractions caused by social networks inside the classroom are distracting to students and can be harmful to their grades.

            Procrastination is another negative impact that social networking sites have on students’ academic performance. Naizabekov stresses that there is a growing concern that extensive use of social networks may possibly lead to loss of motivation. Motivation can be described as the inner wish for a particular student to do well in academic life (7-8). When we connect students’ unwillingness to study with the opportunity to visit social network sites, they usually put their studying to the side. According to Paul Kirschner and Aryn Karpinski in the article “Facebook and Academic Performance” which can be found in journal titled Computers and Human Behavior, their study shows that social network users received lower GPAs and spent fewer hours studying per week than nonusers (1237-1245). When procrastinating or waiting to the very last minute to do something, it is often done incorrectly or in that case with very little effort. Procrastination is a major negative impact on academic performance resulting from the use of social network sites.

            Less classroom participation is also a result of the negative impact that social networking sites have on the academic performance of students. Students who spend their class time on social networks are less likely to participate in classroom activities, discussions, etc. According to Kristen Tarantino and other fine scholars in their article titled “Effects of Student Engagement with Social Media on Student Learning: A Review of Literature” which can be found on the website StudentAffairs.com, social networking sites provide too much stimulation; therefore it can have a negative impact on the amount of time students use to complete coursework as well as the amount of time students use to prepare for class (Tarantino, et al). From personal experience it can be stated that a student who arrives unprepared to class will not have anything to “bring to the table”. In other words, it will be hard to participate in discussions and activities without knowing the criteria that which was expected to be known. It is argued that social networks inside the classroom may urge more inclusive discussions. However, off-topic and non-academic discussions also take place on these social networks. Tarantino and other scholars state that “while social media may encourage broader discussions of course content, older students may spend more time engaging in unrelated discussions” (Tarantino, et al). While engaging in these non-academic discussions, it is less likely that students will effectively participate in the classroom discussion intended upon. Less active participation is indeed a result of social network use inside the classroom.

            The fact that use of social networks makes students more likely to experience some of the dangers on the internet is another reason that schools should have blocked internet access to these sites. Over 5 million Facebook users are under the age of 10. At this age students are not very likely to be aware of all the dangers they face online. Even at the age of 18, that is still questionable. Some of the potential dangers that students are exposed to are scams. Scams are fake deals that trick people into providing money, information or services. Younger students are not very likely to know the difference between a scam and a real offer. According to the article, “Scams Online” which can be found in the journal All Hands, “the most telling sign that an offer is a scam is its presentation. An offer or ad that makes outrageous claims (provides extremely large returns on investments, cures the incurable, etc.) should be immediately suspect” (Anonymous, 42-43). Special internet offers, limited time offers, and offers that offer a discount if you order today should just as well be suspect. Pop ups are more common on social networks because con artists know that majority of social network users are young and more vulnerable or likely to fall for their scams. Social networks are full of scammers and according to the article “Avoid Online Scams” found in the journal Smart Computing in Plain English,  “it's an unfortunate fact of online life that people will have to deal with emails, pop-ups, text messages, and other communications from people who are trying to scam out of personal information,  credit card numbers, and passwords” (Anonymous, 42). With that being said, students are bound to encounter the danger of online scams while spending excessive time on these social networks.

            Social networks encourage users to provide a certain amount of personal information. They allow others to know your contact information, interest, hobbies, and whereabouts. In the article “Stalking in Cyberspace” which can be found in the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry, James M. Deirmenjian mentions that thoughtlessly sharing all this type of personal information can result in consequences ranging from relatively harmless, such as scams, to potentially life threatening, such as stalking.  Because social networking sites make life much easier for stalkers, cyber stalking has emerged as a new form of stalking behavior (407-413). Students post all types of information on the web for their friends to see not considering the fact that others will see it. It may not seem dangerous to post the exact location that you are at, to let your friends on the web know that you are out having a blast, but you may be making someone who intentionally wants to, or is very capable of harming you know your exact whereabouts. Students may think that the above statement is preposterous, but according to DV James and other knowledgeable scholars in the article “Stalkers and harassers of royalty: the role of mental illness and motivation” found in the scholarly journal Psychological Medicine, studies show that 83.6% of stalkers suffer from a serious mental illness (1479-90). This means that there are many sick people out here and anything you post on the web can possibly draw their unwanted attention while putting your valuable life in danger. The use of social networks without the proper knowledge of internet safety can be very dangerous and attract predators such as stalkers.

Another extreme danger resulting from the use of social networks as indicated by Carol Brydolf in his article “Minding MySpace: Balancing the Benefits and Risk of Students’ Online Social Networks” that is located in the journal titled The Education Digest, is “the recurring problem posed by inexperienced social networkers who post compromising photos and personal information, making them potential targets of sexual predators” (4-8). A person who commits sexual crimes such as rape or child sexual abuse is considered sexual predator. Most sexual predators use social networks to hunt for their prey. In reference to Janis Wolak and other intelligent scholars in the article “Online ‘predators’ and their victims” located in the journal Psychology of violence, sexual predators “use information publicly divulged in online profiles and social networking sites to identify potential targets. They contact victims using deception to cover up their ages and sexual intentions, then they entice unknowing victims into meetings or stalk and abduct them” (13-35). These predators are known for but not limited to targeting young vulnerable children with low self-esteem, lack of friends, and children in need for attention or comfort. Being exposed to online sexual predators is one of the major dangers of social networking.

The fact that most reports of cyberbullying are said to take place on social networks is also a reason that schools shouldn’t allow students to have access to them. Cyberbullying is considered bullying a person using electronic communication.  This can include, making threats, harassment, starting rumors or posting harmful material to humiliate an individual. These activities are performed mostly by teens and preteens and are punishable by law in certain states. In addition to cyberbullying laws already in effect, Alison Virginia King states in her article “Constitutionality of cyberbullying laws: keeping the online playground safe for both teens and free speech” found in the Vanderbilt Law Review journal, that “at least ten state legislatures have introduced cyberbullying bills that are currently in various stages of the political process and may pass in future sessions” (845-884). This means that once these bills are passed, cyberbullying will be taking much more seriously and the consequences will become more severe. King also says that schools receiving federally subsidized telecommunication services are required by law to educate their students about cyberbullying awareness, response, and consequences (845-884).  They are trying to raise the importance of this issue in schools because in some cases it can be very serious. In such serious cases the victims of cyberbullying does have the right to sue the bully. Usually the parents of the bully are held financially responsible for their child’s actions.  Students aren’t aware of the damage that is caused by cyberbullying and should therefore have limited access to these social networking sites.

            Not only is cyberbullying against the law, but it can also be very harmful to the individual victim.  As Ted Feinberg and Nicole Robey notes in their article, “Cyberbullying”, found in the journal Principal Leadership,  “Cyberbullying can cause significant emotional harm. Victims of bullying often experience depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, physiological complaints, problems concentrating, school failure, and school avoidance” (10-14). To experience these types of emotional problems has to be unbearable especially at such a young age. Why does anyone feel the need to put someone in this position? Some of them don’t. Some people don’t intentionally mean to harm others they just post thing without thinking or considering the feelings of the victim.  The consequences of cyberbullying don’t just stop at emotional harm. Feinberg and Robey also states that if problems persist, “cyberbullying can lead to severe dysfunction, externalized violence, and suicide” (10-14). All of these behaviors are absurd and could easily be prevented if the social networks of students were being monitored. Cyberbullying on social networks can just be emotionally harmful to life threatening and is a reason why social networks should not be accessible inside schools.

            In sum, due to the concern for all students, schools should not allow access to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram because of distractions in the classroom, lack of internet safety, and the dilemma of cyberbullying.  The use of social networks in the classroom can constantly keep students off task. Without the proper knowledge of internet safety, students can be exposed to a variety of dangers, ranging from relatively harmless to potentially life threatening, on social network sites. Cyberbullying also is a major issue that takes place on social networks and can be harmful to students. Outside of school we can’t prevent students from excessive use of social networks. We then depend upon the parents of these students to teach their children the consequences of the use of these sites.

 Works Cited

"Avoid Online Scams." Smart Computing in Plain English 09 2013: 42. ProQuest. Web. 18 Nov. 2013 .

Brydolf, Carol. "Minding MySpace: Balancing the Benefits and Risks of Students' Online Social Networks." The Education Digest 73.2 (2007): 4-8. ProQuest. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

Deirmenjian, John M. "Stalking in cyberspace." Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online 27.3 (1999): 407-413. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

Feinberg, Ted, and Nicole Robey. "Cyberbullying." Principal Leadership 9.1 (2008): 10-14. ProQuest. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

James DV, et al. “Stalkers and harassers of royalty: the role of mental illness and motivation.” Psychological Medicine 39.9: 1479-90. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

King, Alison Virginia. "Constitutionality of cyberbullying laws: keeping the online playground safe for both teens and free speech." Vanderbilt Law Review Apr. 2010: 845+. LegalTrac. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.

Kirschner, Paul, and Aryn Karpinski. “Facebook and Academic Performance.” Computers and Human Behavior  26.6 (Nov. 2010): 1237-1245. ACM Digital Library. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

Nayzabekov, Sanzhar. “Negative impact of social networking sites on academic performance of students.”  Academia.edu. N.p., 20 Apr. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

"Scams Online." All Hands 09 1999: 42-3. ProQuest. Web. 18 Nov. 2013

Tarantino, Kristen, et al. “Effects of Student Engagement with Social Media on Student Learning: A Review of Literature” StudentAffairs.com. StudentAffairs.com, n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

Wolak, Janis, et al. "Online “predators” and their victims." Psychology of violence 1 (2010): 13-35. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.