Saturday, February 25, 2012

Side Effect of the Growing Social Network

Many of the the benefits of the growing social network have been discussed, and there are others as well that have not yet been brought up. However, as with just about anything in life, there will be undesired consequences to change. One of the biggest issues with with sites such as Facebook and Youtube is their inherent intrusion into privacy. Even someone who regards their individual privacy highly and has never created an account with one of these sites has almost undoubtedly had themselves featured in a photo or video for hundreds of people to see. Whereas most institutions are required to have you sign a waiver allowing you to be featured in their media, for individual users on Facebook or Youtube there is no such requirement.

A recent troubling trend is that young individuals, who may not be aware of what they are getting into, have themselves been breaking apart the shelter provided their family, as evidenced by this recent article. Children, by posting videos of themselves on Youtube, are casting themselves into the real, cynical world, often before they have matured to the point of being ready to handle the unfiltered opinions of people hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet. This only reinforces the argument for recent Internet-restricting bills. The question then becomes, does the responsibility for issues such as these fall on the family of the children, for letting videos such as these get posted, or on the Internet itself, for providing a medium for anonymous users to criticize without moral repercussions?

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