Social networks: advantages and disadvantages

Since their appearance at the beginning of this century, social networks have brought about a revolution in the communication field. In this article we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of these tools.

Social networks: advantages and disadvantages

Although social networks differ in terms of functions, platforms and audiences, they all constitute digital spaces in which people, companies and organizations converge and interact.

Since man is by nature a social being, as the philosopher Aristotle rightly said, it is not surprising that tools like these have been created to establish connections. However, their impact has far exceeded the limits of traditional communication.

The revolution represented by the appearance of spaces such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is such that these platforms are not only used to share images and videos with friends, but have even changed the way in which a business is started , presenting themselves as the privileged medium. for the dissemination of events.

The situation, however, is not all roses and flowers: find out what their advantages and disadvantages are, to derive a usefulness and identify the possible risks.

Advantages of social networks

Among the various types of perception of social networks, there is the one according to which this tool would represent the cause of the perdition of the human being. In some respects, there may also be some truth in this point of view; however, one cannot hide the fact that social networks also have some advantageous aspects.

1. They encourage better health

Photos and recipes of beautiful salads posted on Instagram, videos showing series of exercises to make certain parts of the body lose weight, and posts from influencers serve as a source of inspiration to inspire many people to try to improve their health .

Even if this advantage rests on very fragile foundations, there is no doubt that social networks offer support and create a space dedicated to debate. This context leads to the existence of a sort of community with defined objectives.

According to a study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior , this social connection could have a significant impact and be an important emotional support for improving health in general.

Online gymnastics.

Many people use social networks to improve their physical condition and health.

2. They allow you to connect with people from all over the world

Although most people use social networks to keep in touch with others or reconnect with friends and family, these spaces allow anyone with an Internet connection to interact and converse with people who are everywhere. of the world .

In social networks, to become friends or followers of people living in countries that until now you have never heard of, a few clicks are enough.

3. They represent a means of instant communication

Calls made with landlines and letters distributed by traditional post offices are now a thing of the past. Thanks to social networks, all you have to do is leave a comment on a post published by the person with whom you intend to establish contact, to immediately receive a reply notification.

In addition, most platforms that are not specifically dedicated to messaging offer a section dedicated to direct messages among their services. Consequently, all that needs to be done is to use a smartphone, computer or tablet to send and receive messages from anywhere in the world.

4. Social networks spread news in real time

The age of the Internet has allowed the birth of a situation in which it is not only the traditional media that instantly communicate an event to us. Today, everyone contributes to the task of spreading the news, to make sure that other people are also informed.

The times when it was necessary to wait until the following day, in order to read the news of the day or watch the news broadcast on television, seem very far away. Today it is no longer necessary to wait so long. A simple search within the social networks is sufficient to directly receive all the information we want.

5. They are a useful tool for enforcing the law

Social networks have become a tool for law enforcement officials to track down and arrest those who decide to brag about their crimes online. The latter range from inappropriate actions to hate crimes.

In the United States alone, 73% of officers said that social networks allow investigations to be concluded more quickly. Likewise, it is estimated that 85% of Spain’s police departments use it to investigate and resolve cases of law-breaking within their own localities.

6. They increase the visibility of companies

Whether yours is a personal business or a large company, social networks are a good way to create contacts with new and old customers. More and more digital spaces are used as a showcase to show and sell products, both within the platform itself and by redirecting customers to their website.

Social networks have also become the best ally for freelancers , entrepreneurs and small businesses, which could not function in the same way if these channels did not exist.

7. Social networks can increase school engagement

According to a study conducted by Grunwald Associates LLC in cooperation with The National School Boards Association , 60% of students who use social networks do so to discuss topics that are being studied. In addition, it was found that 50% use it to talk about schoolwork.

It was also observed that the introduction of social networking programs in which students are involved can lead to a 50% improvement in grades and significantly reduce absenteeism.

8. They help shy or isolated people to connect with others

Research published in Common Sense Media found that 29% of teenagers feel less shy and more outgoing, thanks to the use of social networks. Additionally, 20% said their confidence, popularity, and understanding of others increased as a result of using these platforms.

Experts associate these results with the anonymity they offer. Thanks to them, children, adolescents and young adults with difficulty in relating feel more comfortable when they talk and interact, which leads to an increase in their self-confidence.

9. They allow you to learn and share knowledge

Social networks can also act as spaces for knowledge and learning. Thanks to them you can share what you know, as well as learn from others who have done the same, be it through reading scientific articles, videos offering courses or virtual lessons.

10. Social networks offer innovation and versatility

Since the turn of the century, social networks have gone through numerous changes. These spaces, whose initial goal was to share photos and videos with our friends and family, have evolved to become multifunctional platforms , which, for example, can be used in the purchase and sale of products and services.

Disadvantages of social networks

Social networks are also plagued with numerous problems that need to be paid close attention. Let’s see some of them in detail.

1. They put our privacy at risk

The more information we share in social networks, the less privacy we enjoy. there are even user agreements that allow platforms to use your content without consent.

Likewise, it is necessary to pay close attention to information belonging to the sphere of intimacy. Sharing data such as addresses or photos of minors can pose a serious security risk.

2. Social networks target cyberbullying, child solicitation and sexting

While these threats tend to affect children, adolescents and young adults to a greater extent, they are dangers posed by social networks to which everyone is exposed .

In extreme cases, these practices can lead to the following consequences:

  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Sexual assault and rape.
  • Suicide.

3. They spread false or unreliable information

Another disadvantage of social networks is the speed with which false information is disseminated . The so-called fake news, now so popular, are aimed at disinformation and the spread of prejudices. Consequently, it is necessary to contrast the sources, as well as to learn to distinguish whether what we read is a scam or a real news.

4. They reduce personal contact

The ease of communicating through the use of screens and clicks helped encourage us to move away from basic and traditional behaviors, such as a face-to-face conversation.

While it may be hard to believe, in the long run this phenomenon can affect us, leading us to lose the social skills required outside of digital spaces . In this sense, some experts assure that social networks can encourage the adoption of antisocial behavior.

5. They interrupt the sleep cycle

Social networks can be addictive and threaten your rest hours. In addition to the fact that there is a relationship between the bright light of the phone and the interruption of the sleep cycle, giving more importance to a conversation, an interaction or navigation than resting is a real disadvantage.

Social network and child using a tablet in bed.

The habit of using screens at night is harmful, because it interferes with the proper rest that the body needs.

6. They make you more sedentary

To be active in social networks you have to be sedentary in real life. In these spaces, activities such as meeting people, interacting and conversing require you to remain seated in one place for an extended period of time.

The bad news is that spending more than 70 minutes sitting every day can be very harmful to your body and lead you to a lifestyle in which a sedentary lifestyle predominates.

7. If used often, they cause a drop in academic performance

Although students who use social networks to talk about topics they study tend to have better grades, a study published in Educational Psychology Review showed that those who use Instagram while studying or doing homework tend to perform. worst .

The same goes for those who log into their account in social networks, post messages and photos often and, in general, spend a lot of time on these platforms.

However, the result is not conclusive ; consequently, it is advisable for parents to take an interest in and intervene in their children’s use of social networks.

8. They can contribute to the development of mental disorders

A study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior found that the use of social networks is associated with an increased likelihood of suffering from anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it is estimated that, due to their ability to create addiction, they can trigger the emergence of narcissistic, hyperactive and rebellious behaviors.

9. They reduce productivity

Just as a correct use of social networks can improve our productivity, their inappropriate use, on the other hand, can make us waste a lot of time.

In 2018, the average time spent in one day by an adult on social networks was 142 minutes; in 2019 it increased to two and a half hours, while in 2020 it reached three hours. This period represents a longer time than what people spend on other activities , such as watching television, playing a sport or going out to shop.

10. They expose you to identity theft and scams

In social networks, scams are a very widespread phenomenon. For this reason, you need to be very careful with alleged rewards, coupons offering discounts, job offers, business opportunities, surveys, donations, and other activities. Also, be wary of offers to take advantage of false special features, such as changing the color and appearance of the platform.

Another of the problems that afflict social networks is represented by identity theft, which are carried out mainly to obtain an advantage and which are associated with crimes such as scams. If you are a victim of these actions, you must file a complaint immediately.

Social networks: advantages and disadvantages depend on the use we make of them

Since their emergence at the turn of the century, social networks have revolutionized the world of communication. Like everything, they have advantageous aspects and others that are very little. Nonetheless, what matters is to make a conscious use of these spaces, in order to make the most of them and not succumb to their dangers .

Some of the most notable benefits include the ability to connect with people from all over the world, the opportunity to communicate immediately and spread news in real time, provide a source of inspiration to improve health and offer innovation and versatility.

On the other hand, some of their disadvantages are the fact that they put privacy at risk, they are a means that exposes us to the danger of becoming victims of cyberbullying, child solicitation and sexting , they interrupt the sleep cycle, lead us to develop a style of sedentary life and expose us to the risk of fraud and identity theft.