Technology has been evolving and changing how we do things. Over the past 20 years, there has been a tremendous development in technology. They have become one of the most important means of communication. Globally, there are over 42.78% of the world population owing to a Smartphone; on top of that more than 66.53% on mobile devices (Silver, 2019). According to the Telecommunication regulatory body of Nepal, the number of mobile phone users in the country is 34% higher than the total population of the country. This means a single person uses more than one telephone services from multiple companies.
Social networking promises connections between different individuals and groups. Whether it is from the same country or from a different nation, it has made it easier to connect with different people. We can create huge networking with people from different corners of the world all thanks to social networking sites. We can not only communicate with the people we know but also with strangers which can affect how we behave. Social networking sites have a tremendous effect on our behavior. We can have different sources of communication that are not face-to-face which can help in interaction with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and viewpoints but it also causes some problems in the social behavior of the adolescent whose life entirely dependent upon social networking sites.
Social networking has helped individuals in being more social in the online world with not only helping to keep in touch with friends and families but also with strangers with different identities, origins, backgrounds, and nations. But one of the main persistent questions about the influence of social media is whether it makes us more or less likely to be social in the “real-world”. There have been numerous debates and researches related to this question. Some of which show how social media has made individuals anti-social where they are more likely to stay in contact with their friends and family only through social media than actually meeting with them. Many adolescents, teenagers may develop the habit of checking their mobile phones more often instead of actually having a conversation with the people around them.
As social networking has changed the way we communicate, the significant question is whether the change has been purely positive. Social networking has lessened social activities in an individual as individuals have less face to face interactions. It has also negatively affected the confidence and self-esteem of an individual as social networking gives unrealistic expectations which can adversely affect the sociability of an individual. But there have also been such instances where social media has made an individual more social than they would have been without online communication. Especially, it has been a platform for those individuals who are socially awkward. It has also helped us to be in close contact with our friends and families. So, social networking has both negative as well as a positive effect on sociability. “Technology is a great servant but a bad master”. So, we shouldn’t let it be our master and if used in a proper way, it has a more positive effect than negative.
(The writer is a student of Psychology. Masters Program at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu )