Positive And Negative Effects Of Social Networking sites

Although there is some debate regarding the definition of what it is and is not, social networking basically refers to an online community where one connects and communicates with others, generally at no cost. Sometimes called “friends of friends” websites, these sites can aid in establishing and maintaining friendships, either platonic or romantic. Although the format may vary from site to site, communication is accomplished via blogs (web logs), instant messaging, email, video, chat rooms or forums. Social networking websites commonalities may include a shared network of friends, a venue to create online journals, a place to share common interests with old friends or new, and the ability to exchange and view photographs, music and/or videos. Some sites are devoted to a particular interest or category.  These sites often provide an outlet or avenue for sharing personal expression. Many include the very popular friends or buddy lists, where once added, you are able to view their profiles and post comments. You may also be able to see their friends of friends’ lists; although some sites don’t allow you to view or search for others without meeting specific criteria. The friends list seems to be the modern day equivalent of a popularity contest; where does Sally rate me today, am I on her top friends list or at the bottom, or even worse, perhaps not even listed at all?

That being said, what are user profiles? Once registered, the user profile generally includes the person’s name or username (commonly known as nickname or handle), and identifying information (age, date of birth, sex, location, address, email, etc.). A variety of interests may also be included (favorite movies, schools attended, dislikes, etc). The amount of information shared is generally up to that person. Many profiles include a photograph or photos and videos, and last login information. Some have unique URLs that can be visited directly. Some are public, while others are considered “private” (only those who are specifically listed in a friends listing, or other criteria, can view that particular profile) keeping online strangers, in theory, from viewing.

In a study by Nielson/NetRatings, the top ten social networking websites have collectively grown 47% from the previous year with MySpace topping the list. According to Alexa Internet traffic rankings, MySpace is the 6th most popular website in the world.

Something to consider: Do you think social networking sites are positive tools for our children, or do you view them as something negative?

There are hundreds of social networking websites online.  Here are some listings of what is out there in the world wide web:


Staying safe on Social Networking Sites