In the past couple of decades, social media has evolved and established global fame to the point that many scholars are now keen to learn more about these social networks and their impact on society. While nearly everyone in the community is linked to at least one social network, young people and adolescents are the proponents and the extremists of social media to the degree that they use social media, even in their classrooms. To this end, scholars have noted that these networking media have a huge effect on the lives of our young people in society concerning education, behavior, and morals. Social media usage has both positive and negative implications on our young community today. This research demonstrates the negative effects of social media on young people in particular.
Social Media Affecting Social Norms and Ethics:
Being an Islamic country, Pakistan has many social and religious norms. But with the emergence of digital media, these social conventions and morals of youth have been threatened. Being in a conventional community, open relationships and friendships with the opposite sex are believed to be immoral. However, social media has altered the norms of socialization and subsequently, youth with adverse social classes are getting interested in engaging and connecting in friendships with the opposite sex. These interactions result in several miserable actions such as murders and suicides, which are usually reported in the newspapers as a consequence of online friendships. This use of social media leads youth towards the pursuit of sexual content.
Sadly, among the eight Muslim states led by Egypt, Pakistan ranked at the top in researching porn content. Several universities, colleges, and schools’ social groups denote sexual talk among students. To minimize unethical traffic, the PTA blocked about 64 thousand online sources having immoral, blasphemous, or obscene content. However, youth still search for sex videos and mostly use VPNs or fake social media accounts to approach adults or porn and inappropriate content. This conduct has become a major issue for online abuse and harassment of women and results in blackmailing.
Role of Social Media in Cyber Crimes:
Cybercrime activity is promoted and encouraged by the Internet through computers, digital devices, and networks used in the digital world. It may involve the digital stealing of information from a private, governmental, or industrial sector by transmitting criminal connections to illegal remote networks across the globe. It entails robbing millions of rupees from online banks to threaten and stalk internet users. Major cybercrimes include drug trafficking, harassment, money laundering, and cyberstalking.
Enthusiastic and innocent young people are widely targeted by cybercriminals. Plenty of young people questioned answered that their pictures and information are shared by them on online platforms. Talking to known individuals and uploading personal information, may result in victims of cybercrime or participating in bad practices such as harassment. Many of the hackers are teens, industry rivals, former boyfriends or partners, hackers, political activists, etc. Bullets are substituted for bytes. The Internet gives criminals the chance to avenge people for disingenuous reasons and for making black money. Pakistan appears to be one of the countries facing the most cybercrimes. However, laws regarding cybercrimes do not contribute to investigating cybercrimes.
A survey found that 65% of adult Internet users say they have been victims of cybercrimes. In the case of online money theft, most individuals prefer not to complain to the authorities and just notify their banks. The bulk of cyber threats are ransomware attacks or malicious attacks not directly aimed at anybody, and average citizens are less likely to be the victims. Nearly 51 percent of internet users were at some point subjected to a virus or Trojan threat. Very few Internet users faced targeted threats such as sexual abuse, web theft, phishing, bank scams, and cyber hacking. Most victims are angry and concerned, and up to 35% are even afraid.
Pakistanis pay no heed to cyber problems like cybercrimes. Most of them are busy in their daily lives. They are normally ignorant of cybercrimes tools. Pakistan plays no part in cyber protection. While the FIA and other agencies do their utmost to deal with these conditions, however, things are still out of control. At least certain aspects of social networking in Pakistan should not be tolerated to minimize cybercrime victimization.
Social Media as a Significant Way in Compromising Privacy:
Privacy means something that is not public and related to individual characteristics. It varies from individual to individual. It not only falls under the umbrella of human rights but also gives personal anatomy, so; it should be protected under some rules and regulations. According to Neethling, privacy refers to the entirety of facts and information which applies to a person in a state of isolation. Privacy ensures the protection of personal information, communication, and possessions. Private information remains private until someone is willing to express it, but in the age of technology, people willingly give their data for easy access. Every social media platform, demands some sort of personal information, without which a person remains unable to use the platform for instance Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
The technologically processed data becomes a source of insecurity. The inspection of personal data and emails is working against the morality and ethics of human beings. At the start, personal emails are used for the working process, but now, they serve the function of private communication. The emails are also used in accessing social media platforms, and if someone unconsciously visited the wrong website or link, then the spam emails start working. In this way, people are compromising their privacy in the technological world.
Social media has not only affected the individual’s private, moral, and social life but has also given red signals to global workers like info-technicians. Entrepreneurs are most likely to sell the private information of someone for the sake of money. In this way, cybercrimes flourished.
Role of Social Media in Promoting Islamophobia:
The demonization process offers an incentive to establish inaccurate perceptions about individuals who are culturally and ethnically different. So, racism is formulated, which in general is a broad type of segregation, encompassing social, cultural, and intellectual aspects that annul the heterogeneity and plurality of culture, class, or ethnic group, Islamophobia, which is a representation of disrespect to people who profess Islam or who come from countries where Islam is professed. Social media leads to freedom of speech, which allows users to experience and voice their thoughts.
Unfortunately, some people exploit this and submit derogatory statements that may affect people adversely. The negative consequence of freedom of speech is the number of hateful messages exchanged by unconscious individuals. Putri et al. state hatred speech are any means of offensive communication, undervaluing, and degrading for an individual or group of people. It can be seen, that Islamophobia is triggered by the effects of dehumanization and hatred on social media.
For several decades, Pakistan has become a target of terrorism. The main factors behind the possibility of terrorism are believed to be extremism and radicalism. Social media is commonly used to disperse hate speech and misinformation that perturbs attempts to curb racism and terrorism. Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of the Pakistan Army maintains official social media pages to educate and update the general public about military intelligence. Nevertheless, false news content is distributed in the name of ISPR, often by false accounts. Several false alerts, danger warnings, and emergency calls were distributed recently after a suicide bombing in the region, linking these with the ISPR. These false attacks and alarms have spread fear across the nation. High ministry officials also claim that the “negative role” of social media, including military services in the form of misinformation, impacts the “war on terror” and decreases security forces’ morality.
Social Media Concerning Psychological Health:
Social media plays a vital role in promoting mental health issues. In a study, 13 percent of 12-17-year-olds experience depression, and 32 percent report anxiety; hence, a mental disease is a problem for teenage health. It is a problem for young adults as well, since 25 percent of 18-25-year-olds report undergoing a certain type of mental disorder. Depression is especially growing among females. Some studies have indicated that this spike in mental illness is, at least partially, related to the growth in social media use by teens and young adults.
Excessive use of social media significantly affects sleep, which results in anxiety and depression. The use of social media during the night affects sleep in several ways as individuals keep using social devices till late so the light can affect the circadian system.
Young people report using social media during the nighttime, even though it affects their sleep. They are afraid that if they do not use their phone at night, they will neglect potential social online connections that youth think will adversely affect their social interactions. Teenagers often report that they want their friends to be online and accessible at night. There is a social norm to reply quickly to messages and they do not want to breach this law by sleeping past their messages. Many teens admit to sleeping on their mobiles and continuously monitoring them at night.
In reality, teenagers and young adults frequently think about what they call FOMO, which is anxiety about missing experiences. Social media can exacerbate FOMO emotions; for instance, when someone sees pictures from a party to which they were not invited. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to the possible harmful effects of social media as their growth relies on social connectivity. Social network browsing can lead to FOMO and a sense of isolation can lead to depressive feelings.
Social Media Leading Family Culture Towards Demolition:
In this contemporary world, online correspondence has become more preferential and more prevalent than face-to-face encounters. Different cultures have therefore shown apprehensions that digital media connections have distracted people from spending time with their families and close relationships. New media innovations have provided a forum for the growth of peer culture among young people; however, they have eroded the culture of the home. In today’s world, young people tend to spend a lot of time with their peers online. They are followed by cyber mates and though they are with their families. This is the case for Pakistani teens, who choose cyber world accounts online. It is also stated that unnecessary online experiences drive people away from their family and relationships in real life. Mobile phones have brought new habits, both in rural and urban areas that have eaten up the time and energy traditionally allocated to families and intimate relationships.
It can be concluded that though social media has positive effects, negative effects are along with them which can leave a permanent mark on an individual’s life. Lack of social media awareness regarding its negative effects is leading Pakistani youth to a point where there is no comeback. Social media is playing an important part in exploiting youth and directing them towards mental and psychological issues. Moreover, the media is creating a void between children and parents, where children avoid sharing their issues with their parents instead of posting their problems online, or sharing with an unknown person to get suggestions, which usually results in blackmailing and abuse. In addition, the media is significant in raising new ways of identifying crimes and where criminals cannot be tracked. Considering the above discussion, it would not be wrong if we say that the excessive use of social media is creating a threat to the future of our young generation.
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