Allen in the article explains the growing impact of social media in the everyday life of users, which have significantly increased over the last fifteen years from 5 percent of adult population using social media platforms to seventy percent in the year 2019. Social media usage does impact relationship due to its connectivity and socialization feature that does not require in-person presence. Although, usage of social media technology tends to increase in-person interaction due to its instant connectivity benefits. Social Media plays a critical role of virtual connectivity that reshapes relationships in recent times, and supplements the in-person socialization with alternative modalities through adaptation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in daily life for social interaction.
Social displacement is the phenomenon of replacing face-to-face time with time consumed on technology, especially in modern day usage of social networking platforms. However, the phenomenon is hundred years old, and technologies like postal letters and telephone have raised concerns in their respective boom period for eating away face-to-face time. Allen, on the other hand, argues that social media is not adversely affecting relationships because technology provides new and different forms of socialization, which indicate social displacement does not occur. Evidence from data suggest that phone calls, texts, in-person time, and emails are all modalities of social interaction, and meaningful interactions with closed ones occur almost the way. Concern for the wellbeing of an individual often results in fear of the unknown, and that is human’s basic instincts.
The evidence also suggest that there is positive relationship between social media usage, and in-person social interaction. Allen provides evidence that teen one year before entering college tend to spend significantly more time when compared with the similar age group from 1980s, which precisely reveals positive impact of virtual connectivity and communication on in-person interactions. Digital media use among teen is high, and it allows them to create social networking culture, which is unique in its own way. One distinctive aspect of the relationship is benefits of social networking through networking sites in eliminating physical barrier of utilizing resources to locate someone’s current location.
The associated risks of social media usage, especially within the teen age group, are in the form of cyber-bullying, and exposure to inappropriate content, combined with the adverse effects on cognition. Although social connectivity strengthens with social media, which creates creativity outlet for the user, but the incidence of bullying suggest almost thirteen percent cyberbullying case in the teen age group. Additionally, access to inappropriate content in the form of pornography, violent and extremist images is the risk to which social media exposes everyone at a certain level because of the diversity of users and content across the social networking sites.
There is potential benefit of using social networking sites as a method of creative self-expression, but there are risks associated with expansion of social networks. The risks include inappropriate content like pornography, images with violence, and cyber bullying. Allen provides evidence that a significant proportion of teen age population reports coming across content that is homophobic, racist, and sexist, and hate based content. The reported cyberbullying incidence in teen age population, at least once, is in double digit, ’13.’ At cognitive level, risks of adverse effect is evident in the offline world, and in physical terms. One of the common concern for higher screen time on social media results in core issues of intimacy, sexuality, and identity.
Social-media networking is everyday reality of modern lifestyle, and it allows enormous opportunities to gain and send information that ensures sustainable and healthy online-culture. On the one hand, research highlights the positive impact of social media usage and in-person interaction. On the other hand, Social media networking sites create issues of internal conflict in the form sexuality, identity, intimacy etc. Overall, social media technology has a positive effect on the lives of people, but every technological change that influenced communication has created some sort of social displacement. However, social displacement is a myth, and it is actually the change and evolution of culture due to technological factor, which has its pros and cons.
Allen, Summer. “Social Media’s Growing Impact on Our Lives.” American Psychological Association, 20 Sept. 2019, www.apa.org/members/content/social-media-research.