C.Social Networking Sites

In simple words Social Networking Sites (SNSs) are just web-based services that allow individuals to do a number of things which include: construct a public or semi-public profile, form a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and also view or transverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system. This form of service tends to be increasingly attracting people from different fields all around the world for different purposes such as research and academic learning.

SNSs such as My Space, Facebook, twitter, and Bebo attract million of users everyday where many of their users have became engaged in these sites as one of their daily activities. Different SNSs are designed for different purposes and for different people. Most SNSs help people with same interests to connect with one another and share their interests, their views on different political topics or any other topics.

Facebook, myspace.com, and twitter are ranked the top three social networking sites in terms of popularity and usage among different people around the world. These are popular examples of social networking sites with main purpose is to digitalize the real world connections, but there are many other types of SNSs. Other SNSs would focus on wide range of categories ranging from books and music to non-profit business to motherhood as ways to provide both services and community to individuals with shared interests. Examples of such SNSs include deviantART, CafeMom, and Flixster.

One of the main advantages of these sites beside the technology and options they can offer is the number of audience that could view and become members. There is no limit to that, however some sites are open to a diverse audience population, but others only allow people either with common language or shared racial, sexual, religious, or nationality-based identities.

One of the concerns to parents from SNSs is the social development of their children when they are constantly using these sites either for entertainment or learning purposes. Nowadays very young children starting the ages 2 to 6 are able to use the computer as they can easily manipulate the mouse or even type some short phrases. Some researchers and critiques have argued this stating that such early use of the computer and the internet “threatens to replace the normal social interactions essential to social development and to promote inappropriate patterns of thinking and relating” (8). A popular example of these SNSs is Club Penguin, which is an online game site where children can chat with other online users, play games, and participate in other activities in the virtual world.

A major issue that a lot of people suffer from in these SNSs is privacy. Many people believe that all their posted information is only viewed by the people they knew or aren’t viewed if they don’t want it to be, but this is actually not true. It has been recently discovered by many facebook users that even after you delete part or your profile or even deactivate your account they would still have a record of all your information saved. Although that many of SNSs provide users with their privacy policy many people ignore it and they would just check the box where it says “I have read and agreed on all the privacy term”. Even for those small percentage of people who go through the terms it is never clear when their information is kept private and when it appears (9).

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