Social networking sites are web based services that allow users to create a public profile and connect with the world. These sites allow people to establish overseas connections by creating their personal accounts and sending friend requests or following other people online.
Social Networking Sites came into existence in 1997 with the launch of SixDegrees.com. This website allowed people to connect with their friends and relatives. It is true that television, internet, radio, etc. have brought the world closer but social networking sites brought the world closest. These sites began in 1997 and now, in 2015, we have more than 100 such sites. Community sites, educational sites, matrimonial sites are some of the types of social networking sites. Like everything in this world, these sites also have both pros and cons.
If we talk about their advantages, the biggest advantage is that they allow people to be in touch with their old friends and relatives even if they live in two opposite parts of the world. These sites do not let them feel the distance and people feel as if they are in front of each other. Facebook is one of the popular or we can say that it is the most popular example of such sites. A study shows that there are around 90 crore monthly visitors on Facebook. People connect with each other by making their accounts and sending or accepting friend requests. They share their videos, photographs and their thoughts with each other. Now-a-days people get a lot of information about others by a single click. Information such as who is doing what, who is having coffee with whom, what was the latest movie people watched is easily available. People can also make a group and share their ideas/thoughts with other people of similar interests. All this brings people closer to each other.
Not only do the people remain connected to each other but also there are many instances where the long lost family members reunited through these sites. The reunion of long lost sisters Tanija and Hadija of Bosnia is one of the several examples of such cases. They were separated during the Second World War and reunited after 72 years through Facebook.
Apart from remaining connected and reuniting, these sites also help in making new relationships. There are many matrimonial sites, which help in match making. They are easy to access and give a variety of options to people. It also saves time. Whereas giving advertisements in newspaper is a time consuming and expensive procedure, and give less options.
These days, social networking sites are also used for political purpose. Twitter is one of the examples for it especially in India. The Prime Minister of India is connected to the people via twitter. He shares his policies, plans, videos, etc. with the people by tweeting on twitter and asks for their suggestions. It makes India even more democratic by allowing direct participation of people in the government.
It is the fact universally acknowledged that social networking sites have made the world smaller and closer but, every coin has two sides. Similarly, these sites have some disadvantages. One of the biggest disadvantages is that people are obsessed with these sites. Children are addicted to them and kill their crucial time by sitting online for hours. It not only wastes their time and affects their studies but also affects their health. They sit and chat at a particular place for hours. They do not do any physical activity because of which they fall sick. It also harms their eyes and weakens their eyesight. Although, there is an age bar but children fill fake ages and make their accounts on such sites, which can be harmful for them.
In addition, stalking is another major problem faced by people on these sites. There are many cases of hacking. Not only this, but the history says that people morphed the images of other people, especially girls and used them for a wrong purpose. Moreover, some people share offensive and vulgar posts, which the children should not see. These posts have a negative effect on the minds of children.
Everything has its pros and cons. Similarly, the social networking sites have a light as well as a dark side. In order to experience only the positive side of it we should be very careful. Privacy of the accounts should be properly checked and children should be allowed to use them under the guidance of their parents. Excess of everything is bad therefore; we should use them in a limit and not abuse them by becoming their slaves.