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Social networking dangers

Updated on March 17, 2013
Is social networking making you lonely?
Is social networking making you lonely? | Source

Social networking or social destruction?

Maybe I’m getting old, or is it possible that I’m just plain weird? I don’t understand all this social networking hype and it certainly doesn’t make any sense to me. After all, I’ve got a landline telephone and e-mail, so anybody who wants to contact me may do so 24/7. But nowadays, I call myself lucky if the phone rings and there’s a real person on the line who actually wants to have a friendly chat. Mostly I’m listening to pre-recorded messages or a salesman from India who I don’t understand. The only person who still believes that the telephone was actually invented for talking is my 85 year old mother and I hope it will stay that way. Everybody else feels that the only way to talk is via Skype. My e-mail inbox is full of junk mail. My personal e-mails are often ignored or get the standard reply: “It was great to hear from you. Keep in touch, Merry Christmas...”.

Ever since the introduction of Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networking sites, my popularity has taken a serious downturn. All of a sudden everybody around me has at least 1000 friends whereas I only have a few oddballs who don’t own a cell phone! The reason is that many of my old buddies have joined the movement and forgotten that e-mail ever existed. They want to write messages on my Facebook wall and assume that I follow their entire life with all its little hiccups online and in real time. Theoretically I could, but then I don’t want to. So this is really my own problem, isn’t it?

4 years ago I actually signed up on Facebook. I was trying to locate a friend from many years ago and googled her name. That’s how I got onto her page, but in order to contact her I first had to open an account myself. During the long process of entering all kinds of personal data including the colour of my underpants I forgot the initial reason for doing all this and never got in touch. Not long after that, every person under the sun and their dog tried to befriend me. At first I was flattered about my sudden popularity until this jerk who I had never liked in the first place tried to link up with me. To me he had always been an axxxxhole and I certainly wasn’t interested in getting an online update of his bowel movements – if you please excuse my English. And then a 6 year old kid from Australia who was the kindergarten buddy of a distant friend’s son tried to befriend me. Looking at the world’s population and all the possibilities I got seriously scared. Right then started my dilemma: “How do I actually tell people that I do not wish to be their Facebook buddy without upsetting them”? Not being a social media expert and not having done a course in privacy settings I concluded that the easiest solution was to terminate my Facebook account. After all I didn’t want to become known worldwide as an antisocial bitch. The complicated process of online suicide took even longer than signing up. I literally had to shoot myself out of cyberspace which wasn’t easy for a non-geek like me.

I soon realized that ending my relationship with Facebook didn’t actually solve my dilemma. Some friends joined Twitter and wanted me to Tweet them. And then social networking reached Europe and resulted in all kinds of other exciting opportunities... In the end I would have had to sign up with various networks in order to keep in touch. That’s when I became the hermit who insists on old-fashioned communication.

You can now legally ignore each other
You can now legally ignore each other | Source
Children are already totally absorbed by social media
Children are already totally absorbed by social media | Source

Is social networking silently destroying our personal relationships?

If you want proof that social networking is actually destroying real relationships you just have to look around a restaurant. You will encounter various couples quietly sharing a table, totally oblivious of their partner or their surroundings. I bet you could feed them cardboard and they wouldn’t even notice. The food gets quietly guzzled with one hand, while the other is busy fondling the cell phone. They are so absorbed in befriending, sexting, bullying or instigating a revolution that they might as well be sitting on a deserted island. People have become loners and virtual relationships have taken over the world.

Another worrying fact is that whole families are falling apart. A recent article in a health magazine suggests having regular family dinners. Sounds good, but when I read the whole paragraph I nearly fainted.

At least four times a week, sit down with all family members for dinner. Make this an opportunity to talk to each other by having everyone turn off their cell phones. If your family can’t make it through a meal without checking their for messages, have everyone check their phones for one minute prior to eating, then turn them off and place them face down on the table. Set an alarm for 15 minutes. At that time, everyone can check their phones for one minute; then reset the alarm for 15 more minutes of family time.

In my cynical imagination I envisage a family sitting agitated around a table, constantly staring at the clock. I seriously doubt that this so-called family time is really quality time. I fondly remember my childhood when everybody was sitting around the table, reporting how their day had been, chatting and listening to their loved ones. Isn’t it sad that we only seem to have time for our cyber relationships these days, but not for our real ones. It’s no wonder that depression, drug abuse and suicide are on the rise.

Of course, social media also has its advantages:

  • Grandparents can finally watch their grandkids grow up without having to babysit.
  • The divorce rate will drop as partners ignoring each other are less likely to argue.
  • Singles always know exactly who has just broken up or which potential date is a party animal or one night stand.
  • Paedophiles can quietly stalk their prey without being called perverts.
  • Burglars get instant notification about expensive purchases and the best time to clean out your place.
  • Parents no longer have to worry about christmas and birthday presents – the latest cell phone or computer is the thing to buy.
  • Long-distance relationships have become easier to maintain in the age of cybersex and Facebook affairs.

Virtual kissing machine

What's next?

We have already created artificial love and hate. While cyber bullying is becoming a worldwide problem, the Japanese are currently developing a long-distance kissing machine that simulates French kissing. If you don’t believe me, check it out on YouTube.

Who knows what’s next?

Maybe it’s not the end of the Mayan Calendar that will cause our extinction? Maybe it’s social networking or the lack thereof?

The day the internet crashes, most of us will sink into a deep dark hole and vanish in cyberspace. A scary thought, but it could happen.... The Social Media Addicts Association is holding meetings in your neighbourhood. Better join them before it's too late!

Social Media Addicts Meeting


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    • CharronsChatter profile image

      Karen Robiscoe 

      5 years ago from California

      oh wow. I feel your pain on this one. If I wasn't promoting my work as an author, I would never have joined.

      it is insidious.

      guess what, though? An' ssshhhhh.....! ;) I use my phone like a phone...:)...I only ever texted 3 times--and that was to tell a wrong number (texter) that they were ess out of luck...

      great hub!

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Thewritingowl: Thanks for your comment. Of course I'm not totally against social media, otherwise I wouldn't have joined Hubpages and I share your opinion about that. What I find crazy is that some people seem to only communicate electronically these days (any time/any place) and they seem so totally absorbed and distracted that they can't find time for their real relationships (family, partner etc.) anymore.

    • thewritingowl profile image

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      i used to think Social Media was for other people but now I admit I have become as bad as the best of them. I suppose it started when I read an article about how a writer had to have a Social Media Platform today and so began my love/hate relationship with FB, Twitter and the rest. I love Hub Pages though you have an instant audience for your writing and when I get feedback be it good or bad I am delighted that people are reading and that I reached them enough for them to want to reply. I wouldn't be without it now and I suppose it has improved my communication because being autistic I hate making phone calls and love emails or any other written form of communication so for me its all good.

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 

      6 years ago from New York

      All good points. And no, I don't take it all that seriously. For employers, that's a wishy washy decision they need to make. Since businesses rely on social media marketing, they need to let some employees have access who will promote their employers on Facebook and Twitter. Did you know that Home Depot relies on Twitter for 24 hour customer support? I think Delta Airlines does too. In restaurants, I've seen married couples with laptops, let alone mobile devices. When I was my daughter's age, we didn't have social media, so we didn't have that distraction, but now, technology is flattening the way the world is, which is a good thing, so I think it just depends on how each individual accepts or rejects it.

      If a couple wants to ignore each other in a restaurant with their mobile devices, well, at least they will live, as long as they don't text each other while driving. That's a huge problem. LOL

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Bruce, thanks for your comment. I hope that you didn't take everything I wrote seriously. I'm a very cynical person. Of course you are absolutely right, social networking has its place in our society and especially for elderly people it has become a lifeline to family and friends. People who use it in moderation will benefit. However, I'm more concerned about the people who totally overdo it. Especially young people seem to be constantly checking for messages. It's a compulsion. I wonder how they are ever going to get a job that way. Soon employers will have to come up with strict guidelines re. the use of social media at the workplace. Also I am saddened by the fact that more and more couples sit in restaurants, totally absorbed with their cell phones. I didn't make this up! I feel it shows total disrespect for the partner. I'm glad to hear that there are still people like you who can enjoy dinner with the family without electronic interruption. LOL

    • hotwebideas profile image

      Bruce Chamoff 

      6 years ago from New York

      Hey, novascotiamiss, great hub and I am now following you.

      I agree with some of your points, but we have to understand, whatever is happening now whether social networking or not, is just not going away and is the norm.

      With that said, think about the old days when we did not have cell phones or social networking. I still see that people were agitated, because when someone was expecting a call, back in the days when phones actually had wires and rang like bells, you could sit around a dinner table and wonder when that "person" was going to call. And if the phone rang while you were eating dinner with your family, you got even more agitated because you would have to miss that call. In some cases, cell phones cure that.

      Now, as for Facebook, I usually sit down to eat dinner with my wife and daughter and the person who was trying to call me would send me a chat on Facebook. It would be waiting for me when I returned to my computer after dinner. In that regards, Facebook is a life saver.

      Also, Facebook helped me connect with my long lost friends from high school, you know those people you often wonder what happened to 20 years after you graduate high school and they didn't show up at the class reunion. I live in NY, but grew up in New Jersey. Because of Facebook, I connected with a long lost friend from Georgia and her husband even became my business client.

      So, as you can see, social networks have their place in society, but they also have, like you said in this hub, their dark sides. Ok, take the good with the bad LOL



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