The importance of social media effects on families and communities has been determined by the research findings based on the investigation of existing literature. The principal objective of the study is to examine the influence of social media on our everyday life. Besides, another investigative goal is to identify possible consequences that social media may bring. Therefore, this study implies the utilization of both secondary research and primary research approaches. The expected findings of the literature have suggested that there are not only positive effects of social media on families and communities but also negative ones. The primary research will prove/disapprove the existence of the problem and its importance in the present time.
Purpose Statement & Rationale
Social media has become part and partial of our everyday life and in a way changed our communication and lifestyle. Today, it is an effective tool used by commercial companies to promote their product and services, by charity and international organizations to promote their ideas and deliver their message to a wider audience, and by political actors to get closer to their voters and attract new ones. Obviously, social media has become on of the most popular source of information and most powerful tool of its dissemination, it helps to find our friends, acquaintances, colleagues; get the freshest news about our favorite public persons, and share photos, videos, our thoughts. Unfortunately, with all above-mentioned positive things social media has a negative impact.
With respect to the fact that social media is a complex phenomenon, the research study intends to examine the social media effect on families and communities and its and identify its consequences. In this regard, the research statement is “what are positive and negative effects of social media on families and communities and its consequences”. Bearing that in mind, the main focus of the research study will be psychological and social aspects of social media influence. The research also aims to identify possible consequences of negative influence the latest positive trends of social media in regard to families and communities.
In general, the information collected will illustrate how different types of social media has already changed our lifestyles and communication and what it may lead to in families and communities.
Statement of Qualification
Like everything in our life, social media have two sides: positive and negative. In addition to the fact that it helps to find friends, follow the latest news, share photos and opinions, it also makes people become more politically engaged (e.g. Facebook), and even unites people and community.
Social media uniting function extremely vivid and works effectively in the situation of mutual cooperation or tragedy, like a natural disaster, for example. In this case, it helps people to check if their relatives and friends survived, where to go to get assistance, to update community on relief and recovery efforts, to update info about donation sites and signal about the needs (Shraeder, 2013; “6 Ways Social Media Helps People Help People”, 2012). Social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter) make people politically-engaged. Some surveys illustrated that in the U.S. 35% of social media users have encouraged people to vote via social network sites and Twitter. Almost the same percentage of users posted their own thoughts or comments on political and social issues and reposted content related to political or social issues that were originally posted by someone else (Rainie, Smith, Schlozman, & Verba, 2012).
As for positive social media influence on families, according to some survey 46,7% parents said it has a postive effect on their children and only 10,7% said it is negative while others remain neutral (McAlone, 2015). Of course, it provides a platform for socializing and communication and gives access to various types of information (e.g. educational and health care) that parents and children most often need (Shurgin O'Koffee, & Klarke-Pearson, 2011). Social media may help children to avoid depression hope and mood disorder through the support of others experiencing similar problems (Ring, 2015).
The conducted research showed that negative effects of social media on families and community are serious and challenging. First of all, an increased number of cases of cyber bullying is rooted in social media.
Social media has made this problem far more serious than it was earlier, giving a real power to the initiators and allowing children to gang up on one easily and making it much more difficult for a victim to get away with it (“Social Media Bullying Has Become a Serious Problem”, 2014). The National Crime Victimization Survey conducted in 2013 estimated that about 2.2 million students went through cyberbullying in 2011 (National Centre for Education Statistics, 2013).
Obviously, its not the only negative effect on families and our community that is worth paying attention to. Today, Internet users have faced the dependency on social media. This dependency has even a special term "Facebook depression" and is considered to be a mental health disorder, as according to some dependency theories, those addicted to using social networking sites have same symptoms as those who suffer from addictions of substances or other behaviors (Griffiths, 2013; Castillo 2015).
The above-mentioned effects have some consequences, such as lack of privacy and digital footprint that young people leave and their reputations, and impact of behavioral ads on social media that form their opinion of what is normal. With social media expansion of our everyday life, there's a positive trend that studies have found Internet users tend to be even more connected to their offline relationships than nonusers (Stepp, 2013; Shurgin O'Koffee, & Klarke-Pearson, 2011).
With respect to the aims and objectives of the research study, a combined approach consisting of primary and secondary research methods are utilized. The secondary approach will allow to gather opinions of experts and analyze previous research on the issues to develop a general background of the influence of social media in everyday life. Journal articles, reports, statistical data, blogs, and other research data will be comprehensively analyzed and examined to get preliminary information on the positive and negative effects of social media on families and communities.
A primary approach will be utilized to receive the data through an in-depth interview with the university students. Random sampling will be done to choose samples from the interviewees represented by the first-year student. A sample of 30 students will allow to analyze how they feel the influence of social media on themselves and their families, and, as a consequence, on communities. Comparing of primary and secondary research results will allow making conclusion about the subject matter.
Expected Findings and Implications
The examined experts' opinions, reports and other literature illustrated that social media is an organic part of everybody's life and it is something people can not just turn off and get away. Being a platform for communication and socialization and a powerful tool for dissemination of information, uniting people and promoting certain ideas, it has a great influence on families and communities, both positive and negative.
Bearing in mind the fact that the influence of social media continues to grow and that it will bring certain consequences and further changes to the society, it is extremely important to understand the nature of social media, including positive and negative effects on families and communities, and know how yo use it properly so as to eliminate risks posed by social media, and develop and benefit from its positive aspect.
6 Ways Social Media Helps People Help People [Web log post]. (2012, April 17). Retrieved from http://blog.hootsuite.com/6-ways-social-helps-people/
Castillo, S. (2015, January 31). This Is Your Brain On Facebook. Retrieved February 05, 2016, from http://www.medicaldaily.com/facebook-addiction-activates-same-brain-areas-drugs-how-social-media-sites-hook-you-320252
Griffiths, M. D. (2013). Social Networking Addiction: Emerging Themes and Issues. Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy, 4, e118. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from http://www.omicsonline.org/social-networking-addiction-emerging-themes-and-issues-2155-6105.1000e118.php?aid=22152
McAlone, N. (2015, November 02). Parents are 4 times more likely to say social media has a positive effect on their child's self-esteem than a negative one. Retrieved February 05, 2016, from http://www.businessinsider.com/parents-4-times-as-likely-to-say-social-media-has-positive-effect-over-negative-2015-11
Rainie, L., Smith, A., Schlozman, K. L., & Verba, S. (2012, October 19). Social Media and Political Engagement (Rep.). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from Pew Research Center website: http://www.pewinternet.org/2012/10/19/social-media-and-political-engagement/
Ring, M. D. (2015, August 6). Teen depression and how social media can help or hurt - CNN.com. Retrieved February 05, 2016, from http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/05/health/teen-depression-social-media/index.html
Schraeder, T. (2013, November 18). When Social Media Unites. Retrieved February 05, 2016, from http://www.timschraeder.com/2013/11/18/when-social-media-unites/
Shurgin O'Koffee, G., & Klarke-Pearson, K. (2011). The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families. AAP Gateway, 4 800-804(4), 4 800-804. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800..info
Social Media Bullying Has Become a Serious Problem. (2014, May 25). Retrieved February 05, 2016, from http://nobullying.com/social-media-bullying-has-become-a-serious-problem/
Stepp, G. (2013, Fall). Family and Relationships: Doing Social on the Net. Retrieved February 05, 2016, from http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/family-and-relationships-social-networking/74000.aspx