Technological innovations have been advancing rapidly in the last decades, and they are influencing our lives in most spheres. We need to take these innovations into consideration, when we talk about how they affect our lives in terms of communications. The way people communicate has been rapidly changing, and it influences their social behavior and social lives in general. A gateway to such communications, that can even happen indirectly, are the various platforms of social networks. Along comes the problem of privacy. Let us examine this problem more directly in our essay.
Nowadays, if you are not present in social networks you are considered somewhat of an outsider. You must have an online account, because it allows people to reach out to you, and if you do not have it, you can miss out on a big portion of your life. You do not see the updates of your friends, cannot reach to long-distance friends or relatives, express your personality, share your life experiences, or even find out about events happening near you or take part in discussing important global and local news. For some, being permanently offline is a mere inconvenience, for others it is unfathomable.
On the other hand, your presence in the social networks can also bring a lot of trouble and unexpected unpleasant situations. Even though you can take part in most communications, or even follow the updates of your friends or your community more closely without even taking part in the conversation, there still may be some concerns that can scare you off social networks altogether.
Those status updates, photos, and the rest of stuff shared online is permanently there. Even though you may use the function to share it only to a limited number of followers, it is still uploaded and hosted on some services and can be reached through attacks of hackers or just malfunctions in the operating system. Nothing is ever completely safe if it is online, even though you may think it is protected by passwords or security codes.
Another concern is that the information that you choose to share, whether it is an innocent status update, or your entire live vlogged online, is there permanently, until you choose to delete it or restrict access to it. This means that any person you allow access to, can track and find your information from every point of the globe at any time. They can also save that information by downloading data or print screening it.
Some people may think that they are innocuous and the information that they share is not harmful and does not concern people in any way, because they only share funny cat videos or some jokes or some recipes that they are interested in. However, all the information that you share about yourself reflects your personality. This means that job employers can track you and your interests, and you could potentially lose your job or never get hired if you do not look good enough for those job employers.
Privacy also means the privacy of communication. It is not the secret that online communication is one of the best methods to find amazing friends or build meaningful and trusted relationships. It is indeed a great thing that people can find someone who is compatible with them in a lot of ways on special websites. At the same time, they can never be sure that their partner is not deceiving them, by providing photos of someone else or sharing false information. This can be done for a lot of motives, but it remains hurtful and can lead to bad consequences for both parties involved. Furthermore, all the photos and videos that you share of yourself can be used in unimaginable ways, you can become a “meme” or internet joke overnight and not even be aware of it, or your face could be used to catfish someone else and your reputation will suffer.
Political propaganda or social propaganda can also be done through social networks, and students can experience its effects when they try to research information for their essays or find arguments for the debates. Not everything that they find is truthful, and their grades can suffer. Not to mention that, if they are devoid of critical skills, they can unknowingly share harmful information or stereotypes.
A factor that should be considered in modern societies is that technology is evolving together with us. People are not aware of its consequences and effects. Especially, not how to teach internet privacy, and social network privacy in particular, to their children. As kids are often extremely open, kind and active, they may share all of their information online, communicate with undesirable people or even criminals, share too much information about the other people in their household. They can even share some unflattering pictures of themselves and then regret it years later.
As a conclusion, it is important to remember that internet privacy is not a laughing matter, that sharing anything about your life should always be done wisely. Students can feel the consequences of sharing data online freely in Facebook and Twitter when they are not being hired, because of their funny or not serious enough internet personalities, when they try to find a friend or a partner online, when someone shares deceitful information online.