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Impact on Social Life

How E-Technologies have Changed Modern Social Life and Remedies.

The advent of electronic technology, also known as e-technology, has significantly changed how human beings interact with each other and how they stay connected.  However, with the proliferation of these technologies, one would imagine these tools would help people to have a better understanding of other cultures, communicate effectively with other people, maintain and enhance familial relationships, and help most people to be more socially adept. However, that has not been the case. These communication devices have caused many people to get distracted, be increasingly stressed, and be overly isolated.

The use of e-technology has several positive and negative consequences.  Some people have been able to find long-lost friends through e-technology platforms, especially social networking sites, and this has enabled them to reconnect and live happy lives again. In communities where people are highly mobile, and friends and family members work or live in different geographical areas, they find it quite convenient to use e-technology so as to keep in touch.  Since it requires only a few seconds to pass across a message and subsequently receive feedback, it removes the barrier of distance (Rocha 2013; Atkinson and Castro 2004). 

In addition, these tools make everyone equal. As a result, it is easy to communicate with people from a wide variety of backgrounds using these devices. When people are interacting over the Internet, for example, it is difficult for them to know whether they are more senior than the other party. With a professionally developed website, a junior person can appear well informed on the Internet as other experts as there is no way they can be judged based on their age, skin color, race, and more other similar factors (Hertlein and Blumer 2014).

However, there are also problems that are associated with this technology.  Most people on social media consider perception to be the reality. Many people agree that many users on their social media networks are not their real friends. However, social networking sites have added a new meaning to “friend.” They consider two people to be friends or not friends, which make people to consider perception to be reality (Turkle 2012; Roberts 2010).


Studies indicate that these sites create a platform for promiscuous trust relationships that eventually contribute to cheating on significant others, which have lead to many cases of divorce.  The number of people who have been fired from their jobs and given warnings for using these tools or posting something that undermines their professional standings is also on the increase. These problems arise because users consider each other as friends online (Turkle 2012; Woolgar 2002).

Positive Consequences of E-Technology

While the loss of jobs and divorce are serious issues, other problems that the potential to stem from social media such as narcissism are more common than them. Most websites encourage narcissism, a condition in which someone exhibits extreme interest in another person’s appearance and oneself.  This behavior leads to lust, cybersex addiction, and other obscene reactions. Some experts consider that most people also use social networking sites to display their popularity to their audience instead of using them as a vehicle to develop real, meaningful relationships (Woolgar 2002).

Creating meaningful relations is about people sharing their lives with their friends and acquaintances.  It is possible to use technology to do that through photos, music, text, and videos. A recent survey has indicated that those who have to know each other for years more easily connect through e-technology than those who have never met (Thomson 2006).

However, online communities and virtual worlds cannot offer an opportunity to many people to overcome a sense of isolation. Individuals who successfully find others online with similar hobbies and interests may feel good but does not necessarily have a positive effect on their social skills and social development.  The greatest problem comes when people find themselves subtly substituting electronic relationships for physical relationships.  Too much electronic relationships also engender a sense of social isolation (Lickerman 2010).

There is also the risk of Identity hijacking, which allows people to pick the personal information of an individual and use it to create another profile. Since many people trust what their friends post on social media, malicious users can use this strategy to execute their plans on others with almost no detection (Adam and Smith 2008; McCloud 2013).


E-technology is a risk factor for Internet gaming addiction. Internet gaming is an instance where people can encounter serious social setbacks.  Most young people who are addicted to these games find it easy talk about romantic relationships of some virtual world games, but when they are granted an opportunity for deep, respectful, and meaningful conversations, they are inept.  While linking their poor social skills to these games might appear a little far-fetched, research has pointed out several negative social impacts of some videos on young people.  One recent study indicates that playing violent video games is a leading risk factor for later physical aggression for both boys and girls (McQuade et al. 2012).

The same research, however, also implies that linking gaming to poor social skills can miss the big picture. There are instances where people can take part in real activities such as football, and when the social problems that arise from these activities are the same or worse than those of gaming, gaming can help in relationship building (McQuade et al. 2012).

Negative Consequences of E-Technology

Electronic television also has both positive and negative impact on social development.  Studies indicate that families that take a limited amount of time watching wholesome programs have healthier relationships than those that do not. Other researchers, however, think that television is contributing significantly to the rotting of social values, which in turn makes it difficult to build useful relationships.  Since many people spend more time watching television than with others on their communities and television is a passive medium, it provides almost no opportunity for meaningful interaction while watching. This element of passiveness can have a negative impact on the social skills of people. Television denies viewers the opportunity to learn how to relate to and deal with others (Willard 2007).

Exposure to Internet games can cause some serious negative effects on people’s social lives.  Exposure to shows that present sexual content can increase teen pregnancies. In addition, some people who see violent behavior accepted in a virtual community are often prone to mimic. If everyone were to mimic the immoral behaviors that are presented in many shows, the society would lack morals and many people’s lives would be destroyed Willard 2007).

Phishing, an act of stealing sensitive information through a medium that presents itself a legitimate authority, is another common problem.  For a phishing scheme to succeed, there must be an appearance of legitimacy and also trustworthiness of the delivery medium. Modern schemes depend on detailed personal information for targeted attacks. When one is so readily willing to disclose has phone numbers, interest, education history, and addresses, they find the work easy.  Although there are no reported damages caused by phishing using these sites, it poses a real danger. Since over 15,000 people sign up on Facebook daily, the attacks and their severity are set to increase (Carlson 2008).

E-technology is also a threat to physical security.  When people frequently update on Twitter about where they will be at a particular time, it helps malicious people to figure out where one is.  It creates opportunities for kidnapping, assault, and burglary (Willard 2007).

While studies have not successfully established a common ground about all the harmful and beneficial effects of e-technologies, these technologies remain to be the main tools that families will continue to use to make life choices and opportunities.  In the modern world, people have no option other than to use electronic technologies to interact with public institutions as paper applications and many other communications are no longer accepted. Technology is becoming the only efficient means through which people can apply for jobs, share neighborhood news, do schoolwork, gather together, and share the news about family celebrations and problems. Because of this, supplies of e-technologies are looking for ways to overcome the risks and threats associated with these tools so as to ensure people make the best use of these technologies without the fear of encountering any negative consequences (Ioannides 2006).

The Risk of Identity Hijacking

Suppliers of electronic technologies are seeking to overcome these threats and risks. These sites provide a high level of access control. Facebook, for example, encourages users to configure its privacy settings to have control on who can access some or all of their personal information. In addition, these sites require people to use their real names.  The information they contain is either mostly real or easily identified as fake.  Most people have almost no reason to falsify information on Facebook for the purpose of keeping up with their friends in a trustworthy manner. Myspace and LinkedIn users also strive to use their real names. According to research, only eight percent of Facebook users have fake names, and 89 percent use real names. The rest uses partial names (Ioannides 2006; Cross 2013).

One can also use browsing scope settings to limit the ability of people to view information across spans in any group. A user can decide that his detailed personal information can be viewed up to a specific number of degrees away. LinkedIn requires authorization for any user that is not a direct connection, which is a good control in this category. While this one may not prevent some users from hijacking a profile and gaining access to it, it effectively helps to prevent widespread automated information harvesting (Cross 2013; Lewis 2014).

Combined with the low level of education and shoddy privacy settings, these sites provide the perfect ground for collecting information and breading attacks.  Supplies of e-technologies recommend that at the application level, one can avoid identity hijacking, phishing, and information theft by enforcing Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla’s phishing control. Services like PhishTank and BlueCoat also provide network and application blacklisting that one can use as an added protection (Lewis 2014).

The first remedy for identify hijacking is verification of emails. Users should check for valid addresses. In addition, they check for valid addresses in profiles they interact with. Another solution is having strong passwords and avoiding the sharing of passwords across many sites. VeriSign’s Personal Identity (PPI) and OpenID can solve this issue. The work of OpenID is to provide a central location for high-grade security login credentials. PPI, on the other hand, performs two-factor authentication. These social media sites also encourage users to take precaution when dealing with people virtually, even they that claim to be friendly or that we know them. When verifying any sensitive information, people should take special care (Mathews 2013).

Impact of E-Technology on Internet Gaming Addiction

Physical attack is a problem that can be solved by toning down details posted on sites like Twitter and Facebook about an individual’s whereabouts.  One’s status updates should not contain specific details and need to be posted only after that fact (Rockelmann 2013).

Conclusion

According to this analysis, e-technology has the potential to either improve or harm people’s social lives. Malicious users can leverage these tools as an attack vector.  Ranging from information theft and identity hijacking to plastic relationships and Internet addiction, e-technology poses a real yet quite exclusive form of social security threat. On social media networks, one can access a massive amount of personal information, and the lack of effective and easy to use security devices makes these sprawling applications an ideal sandbox for malicious people.

There are several countermeasures. However, the best one is user education.  E-technology users need to know the consequences of posting detailed personal information and treating “strangers” as friends. Whether users get a friend request or potential phishing messages, they ought to appreciate that the proper ways of safeguarding themselves and their friends and relatives from attack.  Another major method is suppliers of these technologies enhancing security measures. They understand the risks involved, and it is appropriate to follow their advice and also use the security features on the applications appropriately so as to be able to get the most benefit from technology.  Technology has changed over the years, and at each stage, it has made life much easier and accessible. However, suppliers of e-technology need to continue advancing these popular and ever changing applications to safeguard the interests of everyone.

Adams, Tyrone, and Stephen A. Smith. Electronic tribes: the virtual worlds of geeks, gamers, shamans, and scammers. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.

Atkinson, Robert D., and Daniel Castro. "Digital Quality of Life: Understanding the Personal and Social Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution." SSRN Electronic Journal, March 09, 2004. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1278185.

Carlson, Linda. Internet safety and your family: how to protect kids and adults from electronic bullying, cyber crime, identity theft, addictions. Place of publication not identified: Parenting Press, 2008.

Cross, Michael. Social media security leveraging social networking while mitigating risk. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Syngress, 2013.

Hertlein, Katherine M., and Markie L. C. Blumer. The couple and family technology framework: intimate relationships in a digital age. New York: Routledge, 2014.

Ioannides, Marinos. The e-volution of information communication technology in cultural heritage. where hi-tech touches the past: risks and challenges for the 21st century: 30. October - 4. November 2006, Nicosia, Cyprus. Budapest: Archaeolingua, 2006.

Lewis, E. E. How safe is safe enough?: technological risks, real and perceived. New York, NY: Carrel Books, 2014.

Lickerman, Alex. "The Effect Of Technology On Relationships." Psychology Today. June 08, 2010. Accessed April 06, 2017. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201006/the-effect-technology-relationships.

Matthews, Carole Boggs. Facebook for seniors: quicksteps. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013.

McCloud, Ace. Gaming addiction, online addiction, internet addiction: how to overcome video game, internet, and online addiction. United States: Ace McCloud, 2013.

McQuade, Samuel C., Sarah Gentry, James P. Colt, and Marcus K. Rogers. Internet addiction and online gaming. New York: Chelsea House, 2012.

Roberts, Kevin J. Cyber junkie: escape the gaming and internet trap. Center City, MN: Hazelden, 2010.

Rocha, A?lvaro. Advances in Information Systems and Technologies. Heidelberg: Springer, 2013.

Rockelmann, Richard W. Facebook policy and user knowledge: self-inflicted totalitarianism. 2013.

Thomson, Bob. Growing people: learning and developing from day to day experience. Oxford: Chandos, 2006.

Turkle, Sherry. Alone together: why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books, 2012.

Willard, Nancy E. Cyber-safe kids, cyber-savvy teens: helping young people learn to use the Internet safely and responsibly. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007.

Woolgar, Steve. Virtual society?: technology, cyberbole, reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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