I sent this to Dr. Maram Meccawy regarding an article she wrote about the negative effects of online social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and others. Enjoy!
"Dear Dr. Maram,
Thanks again for your article on the negative effects of the now ubiquitous online social networks (Facebook, Twitter…etc.). I agree with all of your arguments and wanted to share some of my thoughts which I did not find in your article.
What worries me is that the “addicts” (heavy users of these “social networks”, especially teens) are actually growing extremely unsocial with people around them. They spend hours and hours on these networks and hardly spend time with their families or friends. This is paradoxical to say the least. These social networks are causing more harm than benefit. Old and recent research confirmed that people who are obsessed with social networks suffer from loneliness and social isolation. Some cases committed suicide. Kids stopped being kids. They’re being deprived from their childhood and parents seem to be too busy to realize this.
This is only a continuation of the events that started 15 year ago. In the mid 90s, kids time was hijacked by satellite TV and computer games (PlayStation and others). By the beginning of the new millennium, the mighty “internet” conquered the kids domain, and everyone else for that matter. The internet started spreading through the Kingdom and with it came the early versions of social networks (forums, bulletin boards, and communities). Then, in the past few years, the “improved” and much more sophisticated online social networks surfaced. What’s next?
Well, the “smartphone” pandemic is next. Despite being in the market for over ten years, the “smartphone” fad is only now starting to spread like fire. You can hardly find a house in Saudi Arabia where not at least one of the members owns a Windows Phone, an iPhone, a Blackberry, or an Android. Everyone, his cousin, and their housemaids have smart phones. You see them everywhere. In shopping malls, traffic lights, parks, meetings, social gatherings…etc.
Now, there is nothing wrong with owning a better phone, but a lot is wrong with the way we sometimes use these gadgets. Kids and adults are busy thumbing with their smart phones, eyes frozen on screen, and occasionally smirking. They do that for hours. Some do it while driving. Fingers have never moved so fast and have never maneuvered so eloquently. I so wish these finger tips were used to build machines and new products.
People hardly talk to their kids let alone to other adults. These things are changing the way we live. We need to intervene. We need to lure people to use the internet and other gadgets in a very healthy and productive way.
Thanks a million for your time. Please keep writing. " END