Increased globalization has influenced the growth of technology in today’s world. Technology has significantly modified and strengthened the way people interact and relate to each other. The use of computing technologies, such as computers and cell phones, has theoretically grown significantly over the last few years worldwide, with virtually every corner connecting to the Internet. The spread of immersive multimedia innovations can be traced back to the 1980s when Nokia and other technological institutions started emancipating items such as personal computers, video games, and computer-oriented networking systems such as CompuServe and Prodigy. The internet extended prominent acknowledgment in the early 1990s due to the launch of the wide world web. The establishment of social media networks such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp has further increased the adaptations of the digital communication (McMillan & Morrison 2006, p.74). One question that we ask ourselves, is the use of digital communication and technology right or wrong? The answer rather depends on one’s perspectives. However, the disadvantages of digital communication outweigh the benefits because of issues such as private invasion, cyber bullying, lacking communication levels, rising competition, and copyright issues.
Since the integration of digital communication and the internet into circadian lives of a growing populace of youths, scholars, and commenters have been apprehended in discussions on the influences of the new technology on the social relations, activities and world opinions of the imminent generation. Also, there have been debated declarations on whether or not the internet is accountable for modeling attitudes, standards, and morals of social behaviors (Driscoll & Gregg 2008, p.84).
Digital communication has threatened the privacy of the users across the world. As defined by Waldo, Herbert, and Lynette, p. 36) privacy is a personal state of life that is categorized by the exclusion from publicity. Confidentiality should be viewed as a natural right which offers a foundation for the legal rights. Every country has a privacy law under their jurisdictions. In the United States, the right to privacy is advocated for in several legislative forms such as the privacy act (1974). Open democracy law in South Africa of 1996 and data protection act of England. Digital technology and communication have a first impact on the collection, storage and retrieval and dissemination of information. The central ethical question comes forward in the accessibility and the use of such private information. The social platforms such as Facebook and twitter collect personal information of the users and store them in the databases. Even though these platforms have guaranteed the privacy of such information, a number of them still find their way into the hands of the third parties.
By implication, it becomes easier for a third party to access information stored in an electronic format. However, exclusion is by the use of high-security procedures for example passwords. The effects of digital technology and communication on the privacy of individuals are apparent in a variety of areas including, first the digital monitoring of employees in the workplaces. Most companies acquire personal information of their employees by searching them through the social media where they get their information, and this can be done by the use of spyware software. According to Valenzuela, Park and Kee (230), privacy in the workplace has been threatened by the use of digital platforms. Second, merging of the database that contains the personal information of people also called data banking, the problem with data banking is that many users or clients are not aware that their information has been merged into one central database. This can affect their privacy because most people can easily find that information. Third, hackers and crackers can break into a computer system and steal personal information of certain individuals and use them for their benefits. On personal effects, a threat to privacy affects the dignity and freedom of people.
Cyber bullying a norm that has been potentially increased by electronic communication has affected many lives especially the youths. However, as Privitera and Campbell states, cyber bullying has also found its way into adults lives in work places or at home (p. 20). There are many incidences of suicide reported by various news platforms such as television, those incidences have been on the rise. Traditionally, cyber bullying involves covert or overt verbal, relational and physical aggression. Digital communication has adopted both the traditional forms of bullying in addition to digital longevity which involves mostly affecting the victims emotionally which can bring about fatal instincts and thoughts (Adams, p 155). A negative comment on social media can be viewed by many people across the world who can respond negatively to the same affecting the life of the victim. Statistics show that girls are more prevalent to cyber bullying than boys. 16.1 % of girls aged between 12 and 14 have experienced incidences of bullying over the electronic media as compared to 10.3% of the boys (Fenaughty, Para 16).
Digital technology has revolutionized the way individuals communicate, associating people across the globe; however, it has changed communication in several ways which are seen to be lacking many aspects. Many people have found refuge on their phones which they use to communicate anywhere and everywhere. Reports show that many incidences of injuries, accidents, and deaths are caused by distractions created by mobile phones when using them to chat with friends, or rather just communicate. The use of instant messages has reduced people to their slaves where a person can walk or drive at the same time texting resulting into fatal accidents. Approximately 46% of smartphone users have said that they have difficulties living without using them
Digital technology has also affected the quality of communication between individuals. Interpersonal communications have significantly evolved over the decades and have also grown digitally. Digital communication has changed an individual’s identity and lifestyle. According to Lee and Tam (p. 1208), the use of mobile devices has been approved to be causing psychological effects to individuals such as depression, loneliness, and lack of sleep. The today’s generation has adopted a new style of interpersonal communication. Networking online has led people to abandon the more efficient traditional form communication of face to face to a digital form where an individual is not even aware of the other party (Livingston, Moorman, and Bowker, p 723). The tendency has weakened ties between people; people never feel personally connected to the people at the other end while connecting online as compared to face to face communication. People get over confident when communicating online than when they are doing so face to face, hence creating a personality that is not their own. The majority of electronic device users have admitted that the quality of their conversations has been degraded since the introduction of digital communication platforms, a number could not hold a decent conversation of ten minutes without responding to texts or calls from on their mobile phones. Even family members approximately 46% have resorted into communicating electronically than personally, this has additionally indicated that face to face communications have diminished both in eminence and magnitude, Face to face communication is more efficient because people express their emotions which are relevant.
Digital communication has affected the academic performance of students especially in high school, colleges, and universities. Students have substantially become victims of social media more than any other group because they use the platforms to kill boredom during their studies. Some of the adverse effects of digital communication using smartphones, computers, and tablets include, multitasking; social media is very addictive hence once a student has become engaged, they resort to multitasking while studying. This reduces their academic performance and concentration abilities in classrooms. Secondly, social media waste the precious time that the students could have used for studies. According to Subramani (p. 23), students spend too much time communicating online instead of doing their homework or assignments. The studies conducted by Subramani also indicate that procrastination to academic studies is positively related to time spent by the student’s online networking. The students are likely to be late to classes, fail to meet deadlines and also rush in doing the academic work. Students who spend a lot of time online are likely to perform poorly with lower grades as compared to students who spend less time online (Slaney, Noa, and Emerson, p. 25). Businesses who have resorted to the use of online networking to find and communicate with clients have realized that the platforms have been forms of destructions to employees. Many employees use the internet to contact friends instead of working.
Digital technology has binary effects on the ethnic identity of the youths and the young generation; it can either enhance or divert cultural values on individuals. According to various observers, the youths are being affected by the privatization of the media in an environment with a variety of social platforms. (Mesch 2009 p.53) Stated that a range of youths and young people use their electronic gadgets in the privacy of their rooms. The youths are also known to use the devices without the supervision of their parents or guardians hence many parents have been challenged on how to teach their children cultural ideals. The youths have become independent on their peers, and social media instead of the parents. Many youths have identified themselves with heroes and celebrities they watch on the media. However, the stars and the celebrities have had negative influences on the youths and the young generation. For instance, secular musicians depict the glamor in smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse. Those media also portray women as sexual objects. Alcoholism and substance abuse have been an adverse problem in the 21st century. Researchers have shown that young people have engaged in dangerous activities over the decades. Media stereotypes have significantly affected the way the youths interrelate with people across other cultural groups. For example, the black community has been considered to be violent while Hispanics are portrayed as overwhelmingly romantic. Also, Arabs have been considered as terrorists. The youths interact with people based on these stereotypes which affect the lives of the other parties (Ellison, Steinfield, and Lampe, p.50)
Copyright issues over the internet have been an increasing dilemma over the decade. Many internet users have sorted to using materials that have no copyrights or patents. It is challenging to search who uploaded the video or music without copyrights. Many artists, musicians, and writers have lost a lot of money when users download materials from the internet without paying for them. In the education sector, many materials are used for teaching and research without the owner’s permission. Additionally, many materials found themselves on the internet without the owner’s permission. Currently, most blatant copyright –infringing activity on the web is sharing music, movies or software. The music industries and software developers have increasingly pursued those downloading their materials in file sharing platforms, for example, peer to peer networks. Many lawsuits have been tabled in the united and across the world to reduce the incidences.
Even though there are several adverse effects of digital connectedness, there are many advantages too. Digital platforms have provided means of effective communication with friends and colleagues from different geographical regions. Secondly, being connected on the social media has reduced the communication barrier between individuals from different diverse cultures. Thirdly, many companies and business have found platforms to advertise their products and attract a broad market. Several scientists have indicated that the use of social media and digital platforms can dictate the way the brain functions this include improved complex reasoning critical thinking and ability to solve problems(Powell., p. 200).
In conclusion, digital connectedness has impacted the lives of people across the world. The technology has connected people, but the behaviors of people have increasingly changed. It’s hard to gauge the magnitude of both importance and disadvantages of electronic media, many people are in between the two, however as discussed above, the degree of the negative effects outweigh the benefits.
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