That social media are conquering the world is obvious. For an average person, not a day goes by without checking their Facebook or other social media’s. Terms as “Like” become popular, not only on the internet, but also in everyday speech. Since their introduction, social network sites (SNS’S) have attracted millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites into their daily practises. When someone is back from holiday, you just have to wait for one day, and you can explore their holiday pictures. There are a lot of advantages hanging on social media. When someone makes a fantastic journey, he can share his experiences through social media. And also demonstrations for good aims are organized through social media. Even money can be raised for charity by just liking a page. Furthermore, when organizing an event, one can make it popular by adding an event on Facebook and inviting people to come. In this way you create popularity and have higher chances for people to come to your event. But there are also negative sides on the use of social media. Because of the fast growth, there hasn’t been good information for youth on it. This has had some major consequences. From bullying till less concentration, and from out of hand situations till unwilling webcam sex. These are all negative consequences of social media. There should be more information for youth on social media, so they get better informed which could reduce all the terrible things that happen because of social media. Through my final paper I’m going to try to provide youth with better information on social media. So they get aware of the dark side of Facebook and will get to learn how to use social media in a good way keeping it more fun and useful.
History of Social Media
Social media didn’t start with Facebook. The first major SNS was sixdegrees.com, which was launched in the year 1997. SixDegrees.com allowed users to create profiles, list their Friends and surf the Friend lists. But all these features already existed before SixDegrees.com. Profiles existed already on dating sites and community sites. AIM and ICQ buddy lists supported lists of Friends, although those Friends weren’t visible to others. Classmates.com allowed people to come in contact with their High School students adn surf the network for others. But none of these sites gave the opportunity combine all these features until SixDegrees.com was explored. And became first big Social Media site. 
SixDegrees.com made it possible to help people connect and send messages to others. Although SixDegrees attracted millions of users, it failed to become successful and in 2000 the service closed. While people were already surfing on the internet in the 90s most did not have extended networks of friends who were online and after accepting Friend requests there was little to do. In that time, there was not much interest in meeting strangers. During and after the fall of SixDegrees.com, a number of community tools began supporting various combinations of profiles stating Friends, such as; AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet and Migente. Users could identify Friends on their person profiles without seeking approval for those connections.
Three other popular SNS were launched in 1999, LiveJournal; where people could mark others as Friends and follow their journals, Cyworld and the Swedish LunarStorm; which contained Friends lists, guests books and diary pages.
The next wave of SNSs began in 2001 with Ryze.com which gave people the opportunity to exploit their business networks. This type of SNS expanded with Tribe.net, LinkedIn and Friendster, they supported each other without competing. In the end Ryze never got as popular as the three other. LinkedIn became a powerful business service while Friendster became the most significant. Friendster was launched as a social complement to Ryze, and was designed to compete with Match.com, which was an online dating site. The only difference was that Friendster was designed to help friend-of-friends meet, instead of meeting total strangers. As Friendster’s popularity increased, the site got technical and social difficulties. Friendster’s servers were not as improved to handle its rapid growth which resulted in frustrating users. Furthermore, growth meant a bigger number of members, users had to face their bosses and former classmates alongside their close friends. The initial design of Friendster restricted users from viewing profiles more than four degrees away. But people did want to view additional profiles, and began to add acquaintances and strangers to expand their reach. Which resulted in massively collecting Friends. Eventually this was the fall of Friendster. From 2003, new SNSs were launched and a new term was made up; YASNS “Yet another Social Networking Service” Most of the sites took the form of profile- centric sites, looking like Friendster.
VisiblePath, Xing and LinkedIn focused on the business people.
Dogster helped strangers connect based on shared interest.
Care 2 helped activists meet.
Couchsurfing connects travellers to people with couches.
MyChurch joined Christian churches and their members.
While the social media phenomena grew, websites focused on media sharing.
FlickR (Photosharing) Last.FM (music listening habits) Youtube (videosharing)
MySpace was launched in 2003, and started to compete with Friendster. The founders wanted to attract estranged Friendster users. Users of Friendster posted messages encouraging people to join alternate SNSs such as MySpace. Because of this, MySpace was able to grow rapidly. People who were banned from Friendster became very active on MySpace, and their popularity began to grow. While MySpace was not launched with the idea of bands, Indie- rock bands from L.A. began creating profiles and local promoters used MySpace to advertise VIP passes for popular clubs. MySpace contacted local musicians to see how they could support them.  The relationship between bands and fans helped MySpace to expand beyond all other SNSs. Also MySpace gained popularity by adding features based on user demand, and allowing users to personalize their pages. In July 2005, News Corporation bought MySpace for 580 Million dollars. 
MySpace attracted media in the U.S. and abroad.
Friendster gained popularity in the Pacific Islands
Orkut became the premier SNS in Brazil.
Mixi attained widespread adoption in Japan
LunarStorm took off in Sweden
Hyves became embraced by Dutch users.
Grono captured Poland
And so on, all kind of small SNSs became popular in their own country. 
Then Facebook introduced itself in the SNSs market. First Facebook was designed to support distinct college networks only. To join, you needed a Harvard card. As Facebook began supporting other schools, those users were also required to have university email addresses. This kept the site relatively closed. Begin September 2005, Facebook expanded to include high school students, professionals inside corporate networks, and eventually, everyone. The change to open signup did not mean that new users could easily access users in closed networks- gaining access to corporate networks to access Facebook you still required the appropriate .com address. Unlike other SNSs, Facebook users are unable to make their profiles public to all users. Another feature that differentiated Facebook, is the ability for outside developers to build applications which allow users to personalize their profiles and perform other tasks such as compare movie preferences and chart travel histories. The popularity of Facebook nowadays has grown out of proportion. It is by far the most popular SNS from all times. All small SNSs such as Hyves, were set aside for a profile on Facebook. But will this stay? May be in a couple of years, another social medium attracts or attention and will pop of as the most popular SNS.
Through the years SNS’s began to specialise themselves and improve, as the history shows. This gave a lot of advantages, people get easier in contact with others. But there are also a lot of disadvantages and even dangers. Especially for our youth. They get a lot of stress, they get less concentrates for school and also cyberbullying is a problem which starts to occur more and more. Those problems will be discussed in the next chapter.
How does social media influence youth?
Almost every teenager is active on the internet, and the age of starting with internet becomes slightly younger. Social Media can be educational and pleasant but the use of internet can also bring up risks that can lead to negative experiences. Most common problems among youth are
- The stress that is put on a child’s shoulder
- Less concentrated for homework and school
1. The stress that is put on a child’s shoulder
To explain the stress that is put on a child’s shoulder through social media, there will be an explanation about stress first. Stress is a feeling of tension in your body. This tension is caused by incentives around them. For example while making homework and you hear a bleep of a message on your phone. Those incentives are coming through your nerves into your body, and are making your brains alert. In your brains certain substances are made: hormones. These hormones come into your blood and through this other substances are created: stress hormones. Because of these, your heart is going to beat faster, you’re going to sweat and breath faster. This isn’t harmful, as it is only a few seconds, but if this incentive that is causing stress is not going away, it can be very unhealthy.
In the beginning this stress wasn’t such a big issue. But in the last couple of years, social media have become more and more important for our youth. This is the reason why stress among youngsters becomes bigger. Most teenagers between 13 and 18 are suffering of a severe form of “Social- Media stress” . This has been announced by researchers of the National Academy for Media & Society after research among 500 teenagers. Approximately a quarter of the younger ones feel stressed if they are not able to check their phone. Via the smartphone, Facebook, Whatsapp, Ping, Twitter, MSN and Hyves they are constantly available, and through special sounds and push messages people are getting more pushed to react. 86% of the teenagers says to have their smartphone always with them and 60% gets stressed when not being able to read a message. “I can cry if I haven’t got my phone with me” is not a strange quote anymore. If you’re not online, you don’t exist. That’s the reason that a lot of youngsters have their charger with them to reload their phone if the battery is low. This is a severe problem, our children think they miss the world if they can’t check their mobiles, while the real world is goingnby when they are checking their Facebook.
This picture gives a clear idea of how the new century, also called the WiFi generation is communicating. “Best Party Ever” is sarcasm. They are too busy with checking all Facebook updates, and may be posting one themselves. That they do not notice how the party is. They are too afraid that somewhere else they are missing something. This phenomena is also called FOMO, fear of missing out: The digital world is a happy world. Pictures of parties and holiday’s. Crazy pictures with friends, it seems that everyone is always happy, this can make you really insecure. This is the reason a lot of people are checking their profile to see if other people are having a good time, and if it’s not more fun at their place. This causes that they cannot enjoy the things they are doing themselves.
This is called relentless dependence, social media gives so much pressure that they cannot let it go anymore. Some teenagers say they check their mobile phone every 10 minutes and they spent around three hours on the internet. (These are individual saying, doesn’t count for everyone) People get nervous if they cannot go on Whatsapp for a couple of days. These are some quotes of two girls who lost their internet for a couple of weeks and a parent:
Leoni Halkes: “A couple of weeks ago, my iPhone stopped working and I got a reserve mobile phone that hadn’t got internet. This wasn’t a nice experience. In modern society, without internet your life is harder. Texting is really expensive and not a useful source of communication, compared to Whatsapp which is free because it works with internet. In current situations, everybody has internet, and I think you have a social arrears(sic) if you don’t have it on your phone.”
Marthe van Vugt: “When someone asks you if you can survive without a phone and internet in need, you of course say yes, but when it really overcomes you, it’s harder than you think. The first couple of days, texting is kind of funny and new and a life without distraction gives calmth in your life. When time passes you get more isolated, and you get the idea that when people can’t contact you they will forget you. Especially in group chats is this the case. After a couple of weeks without internet, you realise you only really need a couple of people (where you’re texting with) and what you discuss via Whatsapp actually can wait till you see each other in real life. After a month I got used to not having internet, but I still will be very happy if my new smartphone comes in, and i will be back online again!” Liesbeth Hop: “In the past, we, parents, had around 20 good friends. When we could keep up with their lives, we were happy. Current we are talking about 400 contacts. The volume of the amount of messages and the amount of people our teenagers have to keep up with gives them stress. When they cannot go on the internet, and so not follow all their contacts, they freak out. Too afraid to miss something that has happened in someone else life.”
Another problem that is coming with the stress that is put on a youngsters shoulder, is that they want to be a popular person on Facebook who is doing all kind of cool activities. The Facebook version of people, is another person how they are in reality (picture) This is called peergroup pressure: pressure of a group of friends. Messages on Facebook and Twitter create a standard where they have to show up to. A large majority of our youngsters is conscious by building up a personality through a social profile. More than a halve of the teenagers think it’s important to be a cool person on social media. When someone is just watching TV, he won’t upload a status or picture about this. But if he’s on a great party, he will upload one and ‘tag’ (to say you’re with specific persons) his cool friends. In this way, he will look like a cool person who is only doing great things. The disadvantage of this is that younger people seem different, than they are actually. A profile picture is retouched, and a party is presented more fun than it actually was. The image is more positive than the reality. This results in insecurity with other persons, “The party of my Facebook friend was much more fun, and her friends are prettier”
This can be explained by the fact that it’s in the human nature to compare our happiness with other people around us. Psychologists call it “social comparison” But why do we look so positive? We as people are inclined to present ourselves more positive than the reality: “self-presentation” We prefer to show a positive image instead of a real impression, because this results in approval, friendship and power. At the moment we are comparing the positive updates of our Facebook friends with our own life, we are “socially comparing” A new study from the Swedish Gothenburg Research institute among Facebook-users shows that the degree in which we compare ourselves with other has a negative influence on our confidence and our feeling of happiness.
Another aspect of the fact that teenagers get a lot of stress because of social media is that they get stressed when not getting enough “likes” on their new picture or status. When a ‘popular’ girl is adding a new profile picture on Facebook, it doesn’t take long before all her friends react with: “Omg, you’re SO beautiful” or “I love you so much” But what happens when a girl or boy doesn’t immediately get all those likes and reactions? This phenomena is also called ‘like-stress’  For example, someone puts a quote or a status where he thinks he makes a clever statement, or they put a picture of themselves, but no one reacts, this can cause a lot of stress and insecurity. Questions they will have are: “Am I not beautiful enough?” “Am I not funny?” which creates a low self-confidence for teenagers, who are already very insecure because of all the things that change during puberty. Here are some reactions of girls, and what they think of ‘like-stress’ :
As you can see, opinions are divided. Some people don’t attach themselves that much to the amount of likes on Facebook, or the amount of Respects on Hyves. But some do! As Scarlett says, she even counts the number of congratulations she got on her birthday.
To avoid that they don’t get enough like or reactions, a lot of young girls have thought up something. Liking so much pictures, that everyone can see your name on the front page, which will result in much likes on their picture. On Hyves it’s called R=R back. Which means: “Respect is a Respect back” Yet the minute when they put a new picture on a social media site, they already start liking other pages so she can make sure she will get enough likes. This R=R back works in a circle. When you see that you get a Respect if you will like their picture, they will Respect your picture as well, and so you can get enough respects to. In this way the girls can make sure they get enough likes and will seem popular which will have an indirect influence on the amount of self-confidence they have. 
It looks like only younger ones attach themselves to the amount of likes. But it also occurs among adults. On the 25th of October 2012 a 27-year old woman from Naaldwijk had an abortion after she posted a picture of her echo on Facebook and got a disappointing grade of likes. The amount of likes was 3, and because of this the mother decided to give the child up for abortion. “You want that your child will be loved, also by her surroundings. If you get such a clear signal that this won’t be possible, you have to make conclusions. How painful it is, also for the 3 people that liked the post.” Not only Facebook counted in the decision to have the baby taken away. When she was pregnant for 4 months and she tweeted this on Twitter, she only got 5 responses, this was already really disappointing for Karine Voorthuizen.
This decision was too extreme. Especially adults should know that depending on the amount of likes on Facebook is ridiculous. They should protect our younger ones, who are overwhelmed by all the social media sites. In my opinion the abortion service and the doctors should have been more aware of this. She should have given her reason why she wanted to give her child up for abortion. Then they could have known that this reason was too absurd, and sent her to a psychologist. If such things keep going to occur, then our whole life will be based on Facebook and other social media.
2. Children get less concentrated for school and homework
In the previous paragraph, the influence of social media on the stress that is put on a youngster shoulder is discussed. This has a relation with this paragraph, namely the concentration(problems) of our children because of social media.
“If I get distracted while studying, I’m going to check my Facebook. I have a smartphone so it’s easy to get tempted to just see whether someone posted something new, I know it’s not useful because in this way studying takes twice as long, but I can’t help it” says Mia.
In modern society, it’s not only Mia who suffers from this. Almost every student is the victim of social media. Research concludes that around 75% of the youngsters between 15 and 25 are always online. According to writer Nicholas Carr it’s harmful to always be online. He warns us that the web distracts us and interrupts our concentration. Multitasking is a bad habit: combining activities makes them less effective.
But why is it so important for students to be online? And why do they want to know everything about someone else, when they realise they have to finish their homework? There are no real answers to those questions. Social media slipped into modern society, without anybody noticing. There are no clear rules how to use it. People get curious about lives of someone else and want to know what’s going on in the world. As told in the previous paragraph they are afraid to miss something. This can have an influence on the marks and grades of students and especially on their concentration. Alet Leemans: “From all the students with concentration problems, more than a halve has to do with concentration distraction. They get tempted by Facebook and all the message that come in. They don’t dare to exclude themselves from it. Imagine you would miss something” 
The British Telegraph says that teachers blame social media for the low grades of their students. It is not only the distraction while studying, but study also shows that children who spend much of their time online have shorter attention spans. Plus the fact that they are less concentrated, is their use of language more and more decreasing. Words as: 2night, lol or ly- are used more in place of English grammar. 58% of teacher believe mobile phones are responsible for children being unable to spell as well as previous generations.
Study concludes that the children with the lowest grades, are the children that spent the most time on social networking. 7 of the 10 British teachers believe that children get more obsessed by social network and half of those teachers believe that this obsession is affecting the concentration of the children. Another two third says the quality of children’s homework is poor as they want to finish it really quickly so they can go online to communicate with other.
Those are worrying numbers. Teachers are the persons who are closest to the school life of a student, and so are the best observers on the fact that school grades are decreasing. Although mobile phones are excluded and forbidden in classes, many pupils secretly take their smart phones to school and remain connected to social networking during class. A smartphone in the pants, helps to limit the concentration of a pupil. He or she is more fixed watching if she has a new message, than watching the explanation of the teacher.
Another problem is the answers of certain tests online. When one class had a listening test on a language subject, they online have to remember the title of the text. With this title they can look up the answers on Google, and sell those to their other students. In this way, our children get not only less concentrated but also more stupid.
To my view, the decrease of students with a good concentration is a severe problem. I’m 18 years old, and unfortunately I’m suffering from this problem to. I can’t ignore that I have my phone with me in class, and while working on my final paper I’ve checked my Facebook for more than 10 times. On the other hand, my grades do not suffer from this obsession. Luckily I found a balance between studying and networking. For the people who are really suffering from lower grades, I think they should get help on school and teachers should be more aware of the danger of less concentration because of social media.
In the previous two paragraphs the dangers of social media on schoolwork and on stress are discussed. In the next paragraph, one of the most severe and dangerous problem will be discussed, namely: cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is the use of mobile phones, social network and chatrooms to threaten, bully or intimidate someone. Cyberbullying is often done by children. The problem is that a bully can hide himself behind an electronic veil, without giving his true identity. Because of this, it is difficult to trace the source and so the bullies can go one with their activities and sometimes even more aggressive than they would do face-to-face. 
The danger of cyberbullying is that it happens anonymous. The perpetrator feels extremely powerful, as he can bully with no identity and is safe at home. The victim, however, feels extremely unsafe, even in his own safe surroundings he is bullied. There is no place of freedom anymore, everywhere he goes he’s followed by mean messages.
Most of the time the victim is a uncertain person, who is a little bit different than the rest of the group. Because he has different clothes, different behaviour, different skin colour or may be homosexual. This is because they are the easiest target, as they have no one to rely on and no further friends who can support them. On the other hand, sometimes someone is a victim with the biggest mouth as the bully’s really want reactions on their behaviour.
There are several kinds of cyberbullying:
- Hacking, which means to log in on someone else account (e.g. Facebook) and sent all kind of cruel messages on their name. In this way the victim will look like the bad guy while in fact someone else posted all those things.
- Sending offensive messages, such as: “You are ugly” “No one likes you” “Everyone hates you” As you can see in the picture below. 
- Sharing adapted photo material, a profile picture of the victim is used and adapted with all kind of ‘funny’ additions.
- Sharing photo material that is given in trust, this will be further discussed in the next chapter. For example, a girl sends a naked picture to her crush, and he sends it to his friends, etc. etc.
- Death Threats or other threats 
The American privacy lawyer Parry Aftab has specialised in children and internet. She wrote on her site www.aftab.com types of cyberbully’s:
- Vengeful Angels: Those are children who feel that they are treated wrong by someone else and want to fix this through cyberbullying. Most of the time those are people who come up for their friends, that may be are bullied, and now they want to take revenge. But they do it in the wrong way, they start to bully back.
- Power Hungry Kids: Children who like to have power. Most of the time their victims are the most uncertain persons, who are easy to bully and threaten. Those children want reactions, and so the best way to handle with them is to ignore them.
- Mean Girls: Those can be boys to! Mean girls bully out of annoyance, just for fun, or because they want to be popular. They share behaviour and messages with a group, to get admiration. Those mean girls will rarely really threaten someone, the bullying is only meant to damage the ego of someone else and for some entertainment.
- Inadvertent Cyberbully: The child that is the perpetrator without noticing. Just to be cool, or out of frustration. This type of bully is extremely surprised when he hears he is causing cyberbullying. He doesn’t think when he posts something or sends a message to someone. 
As the diagram shows, cyberbullying becomes a bigger issue. Almost half of the children have been bullied and threatened online. But more than a half doesn’t dare to tell their parents. Without telling someone, the situations gets worse and worse and will have major consequences. Those consequences can stay for a life time.
Unfortunately, not all kinds of bullying are seen by teachers or parents. Only really extreme situations catch their eye, such as death threats, or the sharing of photo material. In those situations, some solutions will be thought of. But this should also happen with less dramatic kinds of bullying, such as gossiping or spreading mean message that can be offensive. Every form of bullying is as worse, it can lead to depressions and problems with learning. The problem is that cyberbullying is seen by the parents as innocent behaviour which belongs to their age, this causes that children don’t dare to tell their parents. They are afraid they overreact and take the blame themselves. Only a minority eventually steps to a teacher. But because of limited response, the children think they have to keep it for themselves.
M. Fekkes (2005, researcher at TNO Kwaliteit en Leven) did research at the health of bullied children: this resulted in a negative result. Bullied children are less healthy, they suffer more from fear, depressions, bedwetting, sleep problems, tension, fatigue and abdominal pain. Also psychological health complaints are the result of bullying. On a short period, all negative message will cause the victim a low self-esteem and less confidence. They get less social and more closed. They will think they are actually that stupid, and really no one likes them.
On a long period, the consequences can be more extreme. The confidence of the victim can be that low, and the messages that offensive it will going to hurt. In the first case only thoughts of committing suicide will pop up, but in the end there are really some cases where the victim can’t handle the situation anymore. This can lead in the worst cases to actual suicide. There is even a word for it: “Bullyide” There are no clear numbers of the amount of youngsters that commit suicide through cyberbullying. But every person, is one person too much. Here are three extreme stories of people who are the victim of cyberbullying. 
Alex, is a 13 year old boy who shot himself after he was bullied several months on MSN messenger. The girls knew about his idea of killing himself and teased him. They challenged him, and said he wouldn’t dare to kill himself. His parents found this out, after he committed suicide. They read the online traffic and were shocked, but it was too late.
Joanna is a 15 year old girl who needed psychological help, and to change schools after a serious altercation with a former friend on Instant Messaging. Her ex- boyfriend printed the whole conversation and added fictive and cruel comments to it. He shared it with the whole school, and so Joanna became the victim of cyberbullying. Everyone thought she was a cruel person, while in fact her boyfriend added all the mean comments. 
Jeff Johnson, committed suicide in May 2005 after being bullied on the internet. “Jeff was a good guy, who loved computer games” said his mom. But in seventh grade, Jeff met a bully. This bully got a lot of followers and in no time, everyone was ignoring Jeff or bullying him on the internet. He broke into Jeff’s computer and hacked the computer game where Jeff has been working on for a year. Every time Jeff came out of school, he immediately went to his room. “When your child is bullied physically, it immediately catches your eye, but because it happened online, I didn’t know”
Here are some reactions of American students on cyberbullying:here is a clear difference in the way that boys and girls handle with cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is especially really attractive to girls. Woman are less likely to physical bullying because they are not strong enough for it, and not physical orientated educated. Girls handle more softly, but this doesn’t mean that psychological they are less harsh. Research teaches us that cyberbullying is more focused on girls behaviour. They are better in mental torturing and are meaner than boys. The consequences of cyberbullying are clearer with girls than with boys. Also the reaction on cyberbullying is different with boys than with girls. Boys who are getting bullied mostly go to their room and suffer in quietness. Girls on the other hand get perverse, heady against their parents, refuse to help in the household and stop eating. Most of the time parents do not know why their daughter behaves this way, and don’t realise that their child is bullied at school. They see the behaviour as behaviour of a teenager and start to punish. In this way the child feels let down on two fronts, at home and on school. Bullying mostly has to do with ‘belonging to a group’ most of the victims are the outsiders, they are an easy target. Everyone wants to belong to a group, when you’re keeping out some people from such a group you really hurt that person. In this way the victim feels even more lonely. This is a form of social rejection. The victims feel no support of someone, nor at school, nor at home. They think their life is useless. Bullying can have lifelong consequences. People who are bullied as a child later on in life have more difficulties with finding a partner, are lonelier, less social, and more likely to have down periods. Also a lot of bullied people are following the criminal path. Because they were shut down as a child, they develop a neurotic or psychotic personality. In extreme cases this leads to crimes against children, as a form of revenge. Sometimes they look up their former bully’s and start to stalk them. As you can see in cases of murderers, most of the time they had a rough youth and were bullied.
To my view, bullying is one of the most awful things that exists. Luckily I never really had to do with bullying, but I did come in contact with cyberbullying. In the first grade I wasn’t as confident as I am now. I was the tallest of the class, and had the most adult figure. I already had breasts and also already got my period. In contrary to the rest of my class, I wasn’t really good at sport and hadn’t got that nice clothes. Also I didn’t play hockey, this may seems as something you don’t need to do to be popular, but on Mencia everyone hockeyed. I was a little bit different and an easy target as I didn’t have much confidence. One girl started to say mean things on msn, such as “you smell like poop”, this was a typical example of a Mean Girl, she did it for fun. She started to say to other people that I said mean things to, while in fact I didn’t say a thing. The girl had friends in second grade, which was a year above us, and they started to push me in the breaks and added me on hyves so they could comment on my pictures. Because everyone else really liked the girl, I thought I was doing something wrong. Luckily I had friends, but they were friends with the other girl to, and so they didn’t want to pick a side, which I completely understand, but I had so many difficulties with no one understanding with what I was going through. I constantly was in a doubt, if I should say something about it, or if this would only escalate. Eventually the girl realised what she was doing wasn’t good, and apologized for it.
Now, 5 years later I can really go on well with the girl and she’s really ashamed of it. I’m happy I could handle with it in a normal way and eventually everything turned out to be OK. I think now I wouldn’t be such an easy target as I have more confidence and have a bigger mouth and will come up for myself.
There are a lot of dangers online, hopefully in the future there will be more methods to trace all kind of dangers and to help the victims of cyberbullying. Because the internet and social networks slipped into society, we are not aware of all the dangers of it, may be the time will teach us how to corporate with it. Not only cyberbullying is a danger on the internet, there are also sexual dangers online. Sexting this is called. Fake profiles of people on dating sites, pushing girls to take of their clothes in front of the cam, or spreading naked pictures of ex – girlfriends. All those dangers will be discussed in the next chapter.
The influence of social media on sexual behaviour
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, there is another danger that has to do with social media: influence on sexual behaviour. This can have to do with webcamsex/sexting and sharing personal photo material and datingsites. Most of the time girls are the victims of this danger and boys or men are the perpetrator.
1.Webcamsex / Sexting / Sharing personal photo material
The limits of sex do not stop in the bedroom, nowadays you can have sex over the internet. This is called webcamsex, you can use your webcam or msn messenger to have sexual conversations with each other. This is often done by people who have a relationship but are separated for a long time because of work. You can also call this sexting, but this focuses more on sexual contacts via mobile phones. The actual definition of sexting is: “Sexting is the slang term for the use of a cell phone or other similar electronic device to distribute pictures or video of sexually explicit images. It can also refer to text messages of a sexually-charged nature” Sexting comes from the word texting, this refers to sending normal messages to each other through a mobile phone. Other words for sexting are: “Booty Call” and “Phone sex”
When we are talking about sexting, this also means asking erotic questions to each other. Research has shown that a majority of the guys (72%) and girls (83%) has got a questions like: “Have you ever had sex?” or “How big are your boobs?” Most boys think those questions are normal (71%) contrary to girls who most of the time don’t like such questions (62%) This results in that girls most of the time don’t answer such a question (31% answers) and block, ignore or say they don’t want to answer. Boys do answer such questions (77%) because they get excited from it. This results also that boys are more likely to ask such questions (62%) than girls (35%) When a girl doesn’t want to answer a boy mostly tries to gain her trust (11%) Also most of the girls (57%) has got the request to take of their clothes in front of the webcam. Again, the research shows that boys really enjoy it while girls don’t like it. Only (11%) of the girl answers on such a request, while (39%) of the boys answer. The most given reason to answer such a request was among the boys that it is excited, and among girls because they trust the other. The most worrying fact is that girl don’t act in free will, but act because they don’t want to be boring or prudish. Also with webcamsex, same as sexting, does the request mostly come from boys (34%) and only (12%) of the girls has ever asked something. 
Shortly summarised: More than the majority of teenagers gets questions on the
internet about their sexlife or their body. Less is questioned (still more than the majority) if someone wants to take off their clothes in front of the webcam. This doesn’t have to be annoying. Boys most of the time think it’s normal to ask some sexual questions or get a request to webcam in a sexual way. For girls this is another story. Two third of the girls don’t like this sexual interaction through the webcam or internet. And so are less likely to answer to such questions or requests. Mostly boys answer such questions because they think this is exciting while girls answer because they don’t want to be boring and trust the other. But when a girl doesn’t want to have sex over the internet, she ignores the guy.
What is really clear, is that boys have less difficulties with sexual interactions on the internet. This can be a good explanation that most of the time boys or men are the perpetrator with sexual internet crimes. But that doesn’t take away they can be the victims to. Online sex can be really dangerous and there are a lot of risks coming with it.
Risks of online sex:
- Fakers: those are people who have fake pictures as a profile picture. They pretend to be someone else. When they turn on the webcam, you will see a movie of someone else. Those movies and images can be downloaded on special programme provided on the site google. In most cases those are older men, who are saying they are a tenaager. In this way, girls think they are using the internet in a safe way, but in fact they are being betrayed. They take younger girls as their target because those girls are insecure, and easily to gain trust from. Most of the time they start with listening to their problems and say all kind of sweet things. In this way the girl feels safe among the boy (men) Then the boy (men) can pressure her and say to her “I listened to all your problems, now you have to do something for me, take off your clothes” In this way the girl doesn’t act in free will, she does it because she feels guilty.
- Fake modelling scouts: People who pretend to be a scout for a modelling agency, and make false promises. For example: they say you can make a chance on a photo shoot, but you first have to get out of your clothes. “You are really beautiful, we saw your pictures online and would like to see more of you. Could you call us tonight on Skype? Make sure you have different clothes with you, don’t forget a bikini. When we like you, you will hear more of us”  Most of the time, those people also ask for an amount of money as entry fee. You can easily recognize them by no professional site, and no clear information about their company. The same as with the Fakers, their target is most of the time young insecure girls. When they suddenly get all those compliments, they get overwhelmed and happy. They stop thinking and do whatever the ‘model agency’ wants. This agency gains their trusts by saying that every model agency asks such questions and when you will not take off your clothes they cannot offer you a shoot because then you are not professional enough. Also in this case, a girl doesn’t act in free will.
- Stalkers: Those are people you don’t want to have sex with, also not online. When they know too much about you via the internet (think of giving your last name on Facebook or your birthplace) they know where to find you and won’t leave you alone. You can prevent this by making your Facebook profile private, they cannot see your last name and also not your address or birthplace, in this way they don’t have anything to confront you with.
- Players: Mostly men who are gaining trust of girls by listening carefully to them on MSN and make all kind of compliments to you. After a couple of conversations they ask the girl to take of her clothes, and when she has done it, they will ignore her again. In this way she feels misused. Because the girl is the one who is taking of her clothes, she is responsible for it herself. It is impossible to go to the police with it, because it’s your own responsility.
- Loverboys: try to get their control over some girls, and make them fall in love with them.  This doesn’t only happen on the internet but also in real life. The boy makes the girl fall in love with him by buying all kind of nice presents. Mostly these are girls who have a lot of problems at home and are poor. When the boy has gained her trust he says that he has to pay all the presents back he gave to her, and he knows a solution for it. This solution is that the girl has to play the whore, and has to have sex with man in exchange for money. This money she has to give to her loverboy. When she is in this circuit for a couple of weeks, it is really hard to get out of it because the loverboy and all of his friends now her address etc.
Although webcamsex is the solution for couples who are separated for a long time. It stays really hard to trust the person on the other side of the computer. The victims of wrong sexual behaviour on the internet most of the time think they are stripping for their boyfriend, and it will stay between them two. But there is a possibility that those boys are secretly tapping it, or that there are more boys in the room. In some extreme cases there is a chance the boy is putting the movie on the internet. Sharing of personal photo material this is called. This slightly occurs more and more in modern society. Here is the story of some girls who were the victim of sexting or spread webcam material:
Kelly Huizen is a dutch girl, who made a sex movie for her boyfriend. When she decided to break up with the boy, the guy wanted to take revenge and shared this movie with his friends. Those friends eventually started to share this with the school and in no time the movie was going around The Netherlands. Because everyone knew her name, she decided to change her name and live someone else. In this way, she has a better future perspective, but it will always follow her.
Another American student who want to stay anonymous, told her story to 9Want to Know. She says: “I never thought they would get out” and “I never thought anyone would see them” The student made nude pictures for her boyfriends because she thought she could trust him. Her bitter ex-boyfriend shared those pictures with several other students and in no time the pictures were spread across the whole Standley Lake High School. The photos caused deep shame and embarrassment and destroyed her social life at school, the woman said.
"I tried cutting myself. I tried [strangling] myself," she said. "I thought that was the easiest and best way for me to get away from everything. I never went to sporting events. I missed my junior and senior prom because I didn't want to be around everybody."
Unfortunately, such thing also happened on the Mencia de Mendoza Lyceum. I won’t give the girl’s name because it’s better to keep her anonymous. But when I was in 2nd grade, there was also a girl in the 2nd grade of HAVO. She had a boyfriend and gave him naked pictures. This boyfriend immediately had bad intentions and posted those pictures on hyves. After long discussions the boy deleted the website, but this was too late. A lot of people had already saved the pictures and made a new hyves account. On this account they pretended if the girl had made the site, and put questions on it like: “What do you think of my body?” After this incident, the girl went to another school.
As you can see, same as with cyberbullying, there are some girls who became that insecure and ashamed they tried to kill themselves. The NSPCC warned that growing numbers of girls become distraught or even suicidal after regretting giving in to pressure to send explicit photos and videos of themselves. The perpetrators of those crimes do not realise what they are doing, although they feel powerful for a couple of days, the victim’s life is ruined. In the first hand the victim should have been more careful with what she did on the internet. But hen teenagers are sexting, they most of the time don’t realise what they are doing and what the effect will be on long terms. Especially girls take of their clothes or say erotic things because they do not want to be boring. They are under pressure because they don’t want to be prudish. The moment when they undertake such sexting actions, they don’t oversee the consequences. But those can be really major. On short term, someone can feel really embarrassed, shameful and have a feeling of regret. Especially if they don’t get an answer from the boy. But on long terms, the consequences can be even harsher. When they are unlucky, and those pictures are made public, as you have seen with Kelly Huizen, this can have consequences which will follow you your whole life. 
2. Online dating
Online dating is a social medium that helps people to make serious social contacts. This happens through dating sites and has as goal: planning a date outside the internet and find a serious relationship. Nowadays, a lot of relationships are a result of online dating, but there are also a lot of disadvantages. 
The difficulty of online dating is to find out who is ‘for real’. In the virtual world it is really easy to lie about yourself, and make yourself more beautiful than you really are. For example your weight or age, this makes dating sites unreliable. 58% of the European people who are online dating lies about themselves. With online dating, everything happens behind a pc, and so you don’t know if you can trust the other person. If someone has bad intentions, this cannot be recognized. Another disadvantage is that you don’t know the atmosphere that is hanging around a person, for example their voice, way of moving, or their laugh.
These are all disadvantages, thinks that are difficult to cooperate with. But there are also dangers of datingsites. This can have a financial aspect and a sexual aspect. Sexual predators and financial scammers.
The sexual aspect occurs most among women. Those dating site villains pretend to be their victim’s perfect match. They do this by encouraging emotional dependency and woo them with romantic chats and sweat words. Through a web of lies they gain the trust of their victim and built up a ‘so-called’ relationship. When the victim has fallen in love, or trust them, they convince the other gender to meet them at their home or in another setting where there are only a few persons. Most of the time the perpetrator takes his shot, and sexually abuses the victim. Because the victim is too embarrassed and feels really stupid, they do not report it, which can make the perpetrator be able to continue his businesses.
The financial danger occurs mostly with older persons. The FHD (dating fraude helpdesk) has got more than 660 notifications of people who were cheated for money through dating sites. The average was 2250 euros, but there were also people who were cheated for more than a couple of 1000 euros. Just like the sexual predators, the financial scammers also spend much time gaining trust and building up a sort of relationship. When the victim feels sufficiently tied into the relationship, they start asking for gifts for money. This can have to do with “Emergency”: they need money for an operation for themselves or a loved one because he or she is really ill. Or a “Golden Ticket” they say they want to buy a ticket to visit the victim, but they don’t have money. 
To prevent such horrible things to happen you should make sure that you meet in a public place. In this way there are always surrenders who can see what happens if someone tries to do something with you that you don’t want. Also you should tell others what your plans are, so you can make sure that someone knows where you are if they don’t hear anything from you. Also make sure you don’t give personal information, so your perpetrator is not able to stalk you when you didn’t like him on a date. And last but not least, trust your instinct!
In our modern society internet becomes more a part of our daily practises and our daily life. This includes sex. Because of the rapid development of the internet, nowadays it is even possible to have sex among the internet. This has positive and negative sides. It is a really great founding for people who are separated for a long time, men have needs, and in this way they can get those needs without cheating on their wife. Also for people who are together for a really long time, sexting and webcamsex can give their sexlife a whole new and different dimension. Next to sex via internet, datingsites are explored to. This is a very useful way to find new lovers and create new relationships. Especially for older people who are divorced, it is really difficult to find someone new to have affection with. Datingsites create the perfect solution for this problem, but only if it is used in a correct way.
Same as in daily life, there are always people who ruin things for other. This is the case with sexual behaviour on the internet as well. There are a lot of men who pretend to be someone else on the internet. They want to have webcamsex and know their easiest target are teenager girls because those are really insecure. Through special download programmes they can download fake webcam images, which will give the girl the idea she is chatting with a normal person from her age. Eventually when they will date, and she hasn’t told anyone else, there is a big possibility she gets sexually abused.
Unfortunately this does not only happen on datingsites but also on msn and on social media. When a girl really trusts a boy, there is a chance she sends naked pictures of herself. When they break up, the boy has extortion material. In some cases the boys sends the pictures of the girl to friends, and they send it and in no time the whole school has this. While the boy has fun about it for a couple of minutes, and feels powerful for a couple of minutes, the whole life of the girl is ruined. She will have a trauma for the rest of her life. Although it was stupid from the girl to send those pictures, the boy should have been more careful with it.
I think one part of the problem is that those insecure girls are not informed well enough. They don’t know what the consequences are, and are too naïve to think of them themselves. Luckily I heard such stories on schools, and know the consequences, in this way I can make sure I will never do such a thing because I know how it can ruin your life. If all girls get a standard briefing on the beginning of High School, maybe we could reduce the number of those victims.
How can a situation get out of hand because of social media?
There are also a lot of advantages of social media. As said in the introduction, organizing an event becomes much easier through social media. Friday the 22th of February I’m organizing my birthday party. Through Facebook I invited my friends, and on the ‘event’ they can participate or say that they can’t be there. This is how such an event looks like:
As highlighted with an arrow, you can see that I chose to make my event private, and only invited can participate. Unfortunately, not everyone has realised that this is a must on Facebook. When you make your event public, everyone in the world can participate. As you can see in the introduction on my event, I have given my address, if the whole world could see this, everyone would know there is a party at my place. This is exactly what happened in Haren.
Project X Haren it was called. The perfect example of a totally out of control situation because of social media. On the 7th of September 16- year old girl Merthe from the village Haren made an event on Facebook for her Sweet Sixteen. When you make an event on Facebook you can chose to show your event to: only the invited people, only your friends or public. Merthe by accident chose for public. This meant that everyone on Facebook could join the event, and see all her data (e.g. address) The girl only invited a couple of her girlfriends, but a friend of a friend saw that the event was public and started to invite 500 other people. When the girl found this out, she immediately deleted the event, but this was too late.
There had been made a new Facebook- account that looked exactly like the one from Merthe, but was owned by a 21-year old man from Christchurch (New-Sealand) and an unknown person from Berlin who calls himself “Der Fuhrer” and has a profile picture of Adolf Hitler. The 21-year old man says he was asked by someone else to make the account, because he didn’t live in the Netherlands, and so was easier to host without getting in contact with the police. When the girl asked the two organizers to delete the event they unfortunately didn’t react.
Because of the snowballeffect, in a couple of hours more than thousand people were invited for the party. It was a hot topic on Facebook and Twitter and there were even movies uploaded on Youtube. Everywhere on the internet there were links to the Facebook event. After a week 24.000 people were invited, and 2400 said they would join. The worried parents of the girl wrote a letter to the rest of the neighbourhood because of unexpected interest. This letter later started to pop up on different internet websites.
Together with the municipality and the police, the family started to take action. An emergency team was called for that night, which could cooperate when the party would escalate. A nearby football field was chosen as a reception for all the people that would come. Meanwhile there were over 30.000 people that said they would come. Because the number of partycrashers grew exponential when the news had come in the normal media (e.g. journal, papers) the role of the traditional media appeared to be as big as the role of the social media. On Twitter more than 400.000 messages were posted about Project X.
On the 21st of September there was a great fear among the inhabitants of Haren. Luckily in the beginning of the evening, the number of visitors seemed to decrease, but around 8 o clock it started to become really crowded. In the beginning the ambiance was quite nice, but unfortunately there were a lot of rioters present who were extremely aggressive and were looking for confrontation. Because of the extreme situation around half past 9, the M.E. was called. Around 36 people were injured and had to go to the hospital because of head injuries and bruises. Also 15 police officers were injured, and an old men was attacked in his house and got heavily injured. Police from all over the country had to step in, and for more than 1 million euros of damage there was being fought and wrecked.   
A couple of weeks later, more Project X-es were organized on Facebook and other social network sites, such as Project X Wassenaar and Project X Amsterdam, but they were all seen by the police in time and actions were taken. When they would continue with inviting friends for the Project they would get a large fine.
This out of control party because of social media, has occurred in several cities already. There has been a Project X Houston with more than 5000 visitors, and a dead as consequence. Also our neighbour Germany had to deal with several Project X-es, such as Project X Bodensee which resulted in 16.000 euros of damage. And a project X in the south of Germany organized by a twin, this Project X didn’t got completely out of control and the damage could be overseen. Another Project was organized in France by two Dutch boys in a villa which attracted around 600 visitors. The damage was 80.000 euros and the punishment of the boys was a half year of prison and a fine of 20.000 euros.
Those projects are called Project X because of the similes with the movie Project X from director Nima Nourizadeh. In this movie a boy was alone for the weekend because his parents were on a holiday, and his friend wanted to give a party in his house. Through mobile phones the party became a big success but later on got a lot of downsides.
Although social media is a useful medium to organize parties, you always have to be careful. It can be really dangerous, as you have seen with all the Project X-es, a death person has been a consequence from those parties. Also Facebook should get more alert on those situations, a solution could be that only big companies and organizations can make an event public when they have permission from Facebook. On the other hand, it’s your own responsibility and you should be very careful.
What can be seen as real social contacts?
I have 570 friends on Facebook, but when I’m organizing my birthday I only invite around 20 friends. Are those friends on Facebook also real friends? Is social media helping us to make more friendships, or does it only enrich our network of superficial acquaintances? Is there nowadays still a borderline between private and public? Or do we have the obligation to our Facebook friends to share all our activities? Together with the help of the book “Dag vriend” written by Stine Jenssen I’m going to analyse those questions.
Research has shown that the average of real friends is around 4 to 5, but according to a new American article from McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Brashears, “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Netwroks over Two Decades” sociological research has shown that this amount has decreased to 2 or 3 friends. This is really strange as the average of Facebook Friends has increased over the past couple of years to 200 friends. What is significant is that 25% of the people say they don’t have a close confidant anymore. This decrease of real friends is interesting. Has got social media so much impact in modern society that our computer became our best friend? Are we too busy with keeping up with our 200 acquaintances that we don’t have time left for our real friends? Internet is advancing our ‘weak ties’ which has as a consequence that there is less attention for our ‘strong ties’
American sociologist Sherry Turkle discusses those ties in her book “Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less from Each Other” Here she uses the term: “post-familial family” everyone in the family is at home, but no one has contact with each other. With dinner, everyone is at the table, but also everyone is texting or on the internet. As mentioned before in the chapter “How does social media influence youth: the stress put on a child’s shoulder” this is also the case with teenagers. When there is a party, everyone is more busy with their phone to see what the rest of the world is doing than to have fun.
Those conclusions from Turkle are really alarming. She mentions the fact that we give objects more human characterizations, and treat real persons like objects. Chatroulette is a good example, this is a global site where you can chat with random persons. In one click you can move to the other person. The site actually encourages us to judge someone else real quick. When you do not like an ‘object’ you can move to another.
Through the years, and with the influence of social media, the term ‘intimacy’ has changed. Nowadays we prefer sending a sweet text message, than calling each other. And during conversations, most of the time those conversations are interrupted by someone who hears the bleep of their telephone and answers straight away. We start having more difficulties with having contact in real life, and start having less difficulties with putting our whole life on the internet. On the internet we feel much more comfortable, because of its lightness and it’s superficiality. Facebook encourages us to give more compliments, but also to receive more. The fact that there is only a ‘Like’ button and no ‘Dislike’ or ‘Wow, you are ugly’ button gives us more safety. You could call this ‘friction- free’ Social media helps us with enlarging our weak ties. With real social contact we are confronted with reactions of someone else, facial expressions can say more than words. On Facebook we do not have to deal with this. Above all for our ‘strong ties’ you have to do much more, as feminist Mary Daly said: “Friendship is a verb”
But how many people are still following this saying of Mary Daly? Are there still people who are making effort to keep up with a friendship? Or has Facebook conquered those bonds as well? Facebook makes it really easy to stay in touch, but is this connection real? Next year I will going to study in Maastricht, Estelle in Amsterdam, Naomi in Leiden, Karlijn in Utrecht, Leoni in Delft and Bo in Groningen. Those are all different cities, although now I am resolute I will keep in touch with them I do not know for sure. “We really should meet real quick” is easier to say, than to do. And when someone passed an exam saying: “Congratualions” is really easy, and still gives you the feeling that you have thought of them. A message on Facebook replaces a real visit that is considered as obligated. We could say that Facebook is ransoming our feelings of guilt.
The philosopher Aristoteles distinguished in his book “Ethica Nichomachea” three kinds of friendships: the friendship based on fun, the friendship based on usefulness and the friendship based on a higher goal (sharing a common virtue) Facebook focuses on those first two, those friendships are for a short period, voluntary and refer to the satisfaction of the ego. The last form is the ‘real friendship’ This friendship focuses on the ‘good’ instead of the useful or the pleasant. This friendship is based on character. And what we would now call a ‘real friendship’
Facebook means sharing your thoughts, pictures etc. and so only focuses on the ‘pleasant’ and ‘useful’ But because you’re sharing more with a lot of friends, your individual friendship gets less meaning. Information becomes intimate and personal if you only share it with a couple of your friends. Real friendship is sharing exclusive information of intimate capital. Contrary to this Facebook friendship doesn’t draw up any demands. You’re not obliged to something. You don’t have to spent time with each other, you can keep up the friendship apart from each other. You don’t have the duty of listening or reacting on each other. The friendship is real optional, you are free in making your own decisions and doesn’t have to feel guilty when you haven’t let heard of yourself for some time.
You can compare this to the Romantic friendship. At the time of the Romanticism there was the habit of sending each other an official letter where you described your feeling of friendship. While nowadays you send a digital pigeon with a friend request. At the time of the Romanticism, friendship was the result of years of time investment, dedication, loyalty and sacrifice. While nowadays friendship is the immediate result of a request. Romantic friendship includes deep affinity and virtual friendship is only a weak extract from this. Friendship is deromantised and nowadays more seen as: connection. This can be compared to the ideas of Plato: the image of the ideal friend, and the online friendship is only a vague reflection of this romantic friendship.
The reason why more and more people make an account on Facebook, is that it is easier to manage friendships. On the website www.debate.org the question Are Facebook friendships easier to manage than real life friendships? Was asked with the following result:
As you can see three quarter of the people says yes. But does this mean, that because it’s easier we are more likely to switch our real friendship to online friendships? The power of real contact is to feel each other atmosphere. You have the possibility to laugh with each other. All those things does online friendships not provide.
Nowadays Facebook messages becomes less and less interesting, but for more and more people an addiction. Everyone posts all daily practises on Facebook. This is called a status update. But are all those status updates from our so- called friends really that interesting? Scrolling on my homepage I see a message from a far acquaintance who is telling that she went to the hairdresser, next to a message from a mom who is angry because her child is bullied. Those are such opposites from each other, but I can see them in one glance on my homepage. Who would have 5 years ago thought that we could explore holiday pictures of our enemies? Or that we would congratulate a far acquaintance, because it only takes us a minute? Facebook makes nothing impossible anymore. Facebook is not only about sharing personal information, but there is also happening a landslide on the borderlines of private and public The public space, called social media, encourages us sharing personal things.
Is there still a private domain? Or is it everywhere? Think on professional surface. On work people are texting personal things to each other and personal emails are checked on work. Especially WikiLeaks have provided the world an even bigger landslide between private and public. All public and secret documents can be seen on WikiLeaks. This whistle-blowersite shares intimate businesses of world conquerors. But do we really want to see all those secret documents? Because we can see this, are we then obliged to share our information as well. When you see that everyone is posting their whole life, is there pressure for us to do this as well? I think there is a little bit of truth in this. It is in our genes to think: One good turns deserves another.
As mentioned before Facebook has slipped into our society. We were overwhelmed with the possibilities provided by Facebook. Especially in the field of friendships. On the first hand, Facebook seemed an easy tool to maintain friendships. Congratulating someone, or making an appointment becomes really easy through every personal wall where you can post reactions. Another advantage coming with it is the unpersonal side. Facebook can give a feeling of safety. You are not confronted with real reactions of someone such as facial expressions. And although people can react in a negative way on your posts there’s no clear button to dislike something, only to like something. Also a message on Facebook replaces a real visit that is considered as obligated. We could say that Facebook is ransoming our feelings of guilt. That can give a feeling of confidence. Because some people are relying that much on this safety of a Facebook Friendship, they are blurring their real social contacts, and breaking with their real friendships. For some people it’s really hard to see a clear difference between a real friendship or a Facebook friendship because they only speak their friends on Facebook, same as their acquaintances. Facebook gives us the possibility to enlarge our weak ties, but also disables us with maintaining our ‘strong’ ties. Above all, our meaning of the word ‘intimacy’ has changed. In the earlier days intimacy was having real close friends who knew things about you that only they knew. Nowadays, everyone is posting their personal stuff on social media, this makes distinguishing online contacts from real contacts harder because everyone knows the same. As Mary Daly says: “Friendship is a verb” Luckily I’m able distinguishing my real friends of my facebook friends. But this is because we are organizing a lot of stuff. Once a week we go to the city to eat something or to drink something and because we having people around us, only having contact on Facebook wouldn’t be sufficient for us.
Social media has provided the world with a lot of advantages. Keeping up with your friends, sharing pictures, organizing events and advertising becomes much more easier. Unfortunately there are also a lot of negative aspects on this new phenomena. While working on my final paper I’ve discovered that those downsides were even worse than I thought they were. Especially the effects it has on youth are concerning. The stress that is put on their shoulders is difficult to cooperate with. The fear of missing out starts to increase, and while our youth is more busy with checking the online world, the real world passes their eyes. Especially cyberbullying is concerning, there were several cases where this ended up in suicides. This really catches my breath. One of the children I’m babysitting on is 11 years old and previous week started telling me that she was bullied on social media to. On Whatsapp they made a “Anti- Nienke van Praat” chat. This is horrible, those children do not know what they are doing. They do not oversee the consequences of their behaviour. This should be an alarm for the world to start providing better information on social media. Also sexual crimes that are committed on the internet are worrying. Young girls who feel pressured to take off their clothes, because they otherwise feel guilty is imaginable. They should know better, but because there is a lack of information they do not know. Project X Haren is another danger, no one can oversee the risks of social media. You are completely powerless because of its major amount of users. One person is nothing in the cyberworld.
Working on this final paper has taught me a lot, I’m realising more the negative effects it has. I was really shocked about the amount of death coming from this phenoma. Not only suicide because of naked material going around or cyberbullying but also people who were the victim of such a Project X. People who died because other people wanted to fight and destroy things for fun.
I’m happy with the subject I chose to work on for my final paper. This really interested me a lot, and I was busy with it 24/7. Because I’m online on social media sites as well, is started to recognize things more that I put in my final paper. Especially from the border line between real social contacts and facebook contacts. The only negative thing I had to deal with, is that I had to do it by myself. Unfortunately no one of my friends wanted to do it in English and all my TTO-friends already had a partner. It is more work if you’re by yourself and also more difficult to encourage yourself to work on it. On the other hand I’m really proud of my final product and that I made it all by myself. I hope that you enjoyed it, and if you need someone to give information about social media on our school I would like to volunteer according to the information I found through my final paper.
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