Social Media Literacy: Negative and Positive Influences

Information Technology (IT) has grown and developed worldwide, penetrating various countries without any geographical boundaries that can hinder it. Information Technology (IT) has provided convenience to human beings in terms of "communication" to obtain information benefits without difficulty. People can communicate through social media according to their desired needs, such as ordering items that need to be purchased, communicating with fellow humans both domestically and internationally, making friends, finding partners through social media, and even fraud/crime often occurs through social media, and other desired communication needs.

It is undeniable that the number of social media users in the world is countless, in every age group, including teenagers, parents, and even elementary school/kindergarten children, can access various desires through social media.

In the academic world, obtaining scholarly materials is very easy, linking to scientific journals, scientific books, scientific papers, and various articles written by experts/scientists. Certainly, for students and students, it is no longer difficult to obtain scientific materials to complete various academic tasks.

Everything is available and accessible in the virtual world (internet/international networking), both positive and negative. Unfortunately, teenagers and young children prefer and enjoy seeing content on social media, such as "pornographic" images, even live through YouTube, which provides many enticing scenes. Unconsciously, teenagers, youth, students, and students are influenced by sexual scenes, which can lead to casual sexual relationships between teenagers (males and females) without marriage.

An institution called the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has conducted a survey in various major cities in Indonesia by distributing 4,500 questionnaires in each city. The result is that approximately 65% of teenagers have engaged in premarital sex, which is extremely saddening, and approximately 90% of young people have accessed pornographic websites.

On one hand, social media provides access to various networks of knowledge that are beneficial to humanity. However, on the other hand, social media can also bring negative effects and can damage the morals and behaviors of the growing younger generation, leading to the neglect of ethical, social, and religious values.

Definition of Social Media

Looking at its origins, the word "media" refers to instruments for communication, in this case, the internet. Meanwhile, "social" refers to human interaction with other humans (society at large), involving social interaction in terms of communication and information. Therefore, social media is a communication instrument based on internet applications that enable interaction among individuals in the form of communication and information exchange.

Social media is an online medium, and social media users can easily participate, share diverse content, including blogs, social networks, wikis, forums, and virtual worlds. Blogs, social networks, and wikis are the most commonly used forms of social media by people around the world. Andrean Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, as mentioned in Aris Kurniawan's article (2015), define social media as a group of internet-based applications that build websites, ideologies, and technologies, allowing the creation and exchange of user-generated content.

According to experts like Chris Garrett, social media is a tool, service, and communication that facilitates relationships among people with shared interests. According to Sam Decker, the language of social media refers to digital content and interactions created by and between individuals. Marjorie Claymen also explains that social media is a new marketing tool that enables you to understand customers and potential customers in ways that were previously impossible. Lisa Buyer defines social media as the most transparent, engaging, and interactive form of public relations today.

With social media, all social actors can participate in creating, sharing, and receiving information in the form of blogs, websites, social networks, forums, and so on. The information conveyed through social media is not only applicable to one person or one tweet, but it applies to everyone as social media users. Moreover, a trending topic on Twitter, for example, can quickly spread to different countries and garner thousands or even millions of responses from social media users.

Experts explain that the presence of social media in Indonesia has a significant influence on the communication system in the country, which is not surprising considering that the number of internet users in Indonesia in 2011 was around 55 million people. This makes Indonesia the third largest internet user in the world. Out of that number, almost 80% or approximately 44.6 million individuals are users of social networking sites, primarily Facebook. The role of social media in mass communication in Indonesia is evident. Social media is often used as a "political communication" tool to influence public opinion, for instance, in winning elections for government officials such as the president, governor, or mayor. Furthermore, social media/internet can be used for "black campaigns" to undermine someone's career and dignity.

Various Types of Social Media

Social media technology takes various forms, including magazines, internet forums, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, photos or images, videos, ratings, and social bookmarking. By applying a set of theories in media research (social presence, media richness) and social processes (self-presentation, self-disclosure), Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme for various types of social media in their article "Business Horizon" published in 2010. According to them, there are six types of social media, namely: (1) Collaborative Projects, where users can modify, add, or delete content on the website, such as Wikipedia. (2) Blogs and Microblogs, where users are free to express their thoughts, ventilation, or criticism of government policies, such as Twitter. (3) Content Communities, where users share various media content such as videos, Facebook, images, and more. Examples include YouTube. (4) Social Networking Sites, which allow users to connect and share personal information with others. Personal information can include photos, for example, Facebook. (5) Virtual Game Worlds, which are virtual environments where users can interact with others in both the real world and online gaming. (6) Virtual Social Worlds, which are virtual worlds where users feel like they live in the virtual realm, such as Second Life. (Ibid. 2015).

Positive and Negative Impact of Social Media

There are two aspects of social media that affect individuals, namely the positive and negative aspects. The question is, which aspect has a more dominant influence on social media users? Is it predominantly negative or predominantly positive? There is no research on this matter yet. However, in this context, we will discuss the positive and negative aspects of social media itself. The positive impacts are:

1. Strengthening social relationships and facilitating connections for knowledge-sharing.

2. Expanding thinking and knowledge through social media.

3. It can provide accurate and precise information, such as information about universities, job vacancies, and scholarships, among others.

4. It provides a space for positive engagement, such as communication with religious figures, scholars, or motivators.

5. It fosters friendships, communication for meetings, meetings, or social gatherings.

The 'Negative Impacts' are:

1. Children and teenagers become lazy to study because they spend more time communicating in the virtual world, especially with online games or watching videos on YouTube or other platforms.

2. Social networking sites make teenagers and children more self-centered.

3. There are no language rules on social media, so children and teenagers can use language as they please, based on what they see on social media.

4. Social networking sites are fertile ground for predators to commit crimes against children.

5. Pornography has proliferated on social media/internet, influencing many teenagers to engage in sexual activities with their peers after watching pornographic films on social media.

6. Social media and the internet have become a 'modus operandi' for criminals to gain various material advantages. This has already happened frequently.

7. There are many enticing sexual scenes that are freely and openly available to social media users.

8. It promotes individualism and indifference towards others.

9. Cyberbullying and cybercrimes occur.

10. The rise of crimes originating from social media.

11. It disrupts relationships between partners and causes jealousy when one's partner interacts with others through social media.

12. It leads to addiction, loss of awareness of time, and neglect of responsibilities.

13. It can create a new identity in terms of behavior that is inconsistent with one's true identity, namely liberal behavior.

14. It often creates engineered hoaxes or fake news.

15. Theft and misuse of data such as photos, documents, and others.

16. Unconsciously wasting money for the sake of social media and the internet.

17. Facilitating the spread of viruses, for example, by creating content containing links to certain pages that are embedded with viruses.

18. For those who are addicted, their health will decline due to unlimited use of time until late at night.

19. Obligations towards religion are neglected, causing study and learning time for students and scholars to be neglected.

20. Thought patterns will undergo a negative change rather than a positive one.

21. Stress and a tendency to feel pressured, often venting their emotions and using vulgar and inappropriate language.

22. Precious time is wasted, and beneficial activities are neglected.

23. Disturbing concentration in problem-solving or ritual events, as people who are addicted to social media, even in a mosque during worship, do not listen to the sermon but are engrossed in their mobile social media. The same goes for discussions, ceremonies, seminars, and other events, as those addicted to social media prefer to direct their attention and thoughts to the social media on their phones rather than listening to important ongoing events.

24. Social media can also become a platform for 'hate speech' against individuals, and even religious defamation. This has already occurred and has become a legal matter.

If we look at the negative effects of social media mentioned above, the author concludes that the negative effects of social media are more dominant than the positive effects. However, many people do not feel that social media has a greater negative impact than its positive effects. Therefore, it is advisable for students, college students, and the general public to use social media in a positive direction and be able to control themselves so as not to be carried away by time-consuming activities that can interfere with work at the office or at home, or with studying/assignments that need to be completed.

Preventing the Negative Effects of Social Media

To prevent negative effects on social media, first, we must understand the ethics of communication on the internet. Make sure that when we link content to a specific website, it is not a negative or pornographic website, or a website with negative elements. Second, limit the flow of negative information and prioritize positive information. Third, manage communication on social media properly and avoid spending all your time on it, except when it comes to tasks such as papers, articles, theses, and dissertations for college or university. Fourth, parents, teachers, and professors should provide guidance to their children, teenagers, students, so they can understand the negative effects and consequences of social media. Fifth, religious teachings should be emphasized to guide spiritual values, helping individuals to distinguish between negative and positive aspects and determine what is more beneficial for life. Sixth, be able to control your time and resist negative influences on social media.

Conclusion and Suggestions

The conclusion is that social media has led users towards intellectual progress and knowledge, but at the same time, it can lead humanity, especially the younger generation, towards degradation and damage to morality. The reality is that social media has more negative elements than positive ones. Therefore, internet and social media users must be selective and not be swayed by negative elements.

The suggestions are as follows: First, parents/guardians should guide and direct their children towards positive values and steer them away from negative elements in the world of social media. Second, the education system and educators should explain the positive and negative effects of social media, so that students can think more positively and avoid negative aspects. Third, the government should control all internet cafes in their jurisdiction and create regulations for internet businesses to guide their customers away from self-serving purposes and negative communication. Violations of government regulations should be met with penalties such as fines or revocation of operational licenses. Fourth, it should be acknowledged that in this world, there will always be a coexistence of goodness and evil, rewards and sins. Therefore, individuals who think critically should strive to avoid what is bad and uphold what is good (promote good and prevent evil).

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