The Dangers of Digital

Has living in a digital society changes us for the better or the worse? Are modern technologies such as computers and smartphones efficient or negative in today’s society? What is the effect that social media has on our population?


We all know the importance of social media in our lives; I bet we all wake up each morning, grab our phones and waste the first fifteen minutes of our day scrolling through the same boring Facebook status’ and ‘funny’ vines. But the question is why are we so engrossed in our phones and social media; is it because we’ve become disconnected with our society or is this just how our society has progressed?

Social media platforms. Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Social media has hit an all-time high in terms of its use by people all over the globe. Social media has taken over people’s lives, which has allowed social media marketing to thrive over the past few years. Brand promotion online has never been so strong and effective, with some suggesting that social media marketing is more effective than traditional marketing. Really, this isn’t hard to believe since we tend to spend half of our lives on our phones these days. Social media truly is the best way to get through to the younger generation.

Why is social media so effective?

The amount of people that a post can reach on social media is astonishing. We’ve all seen the funny Vine’s or the brand posts that go viral, which can be viewed by millions, which obviously sounds like a dream to marketers. Social media has allowed brands to focus on one of the most important factors when building their company; engagement. Engagement with potential and existing customers is something that we all appreciate as consumers as it promotes their brand loyalty and an appreciation for their customers.

The effectiveness of social media is shown through companies being established solely online, for example Amazon. Their marketing, sales and branding is all online, disregarding the importance of the traditional store. In fact, a study in 2014 found that 75% of shoppers over the age of 15 had made an online purchase. This shows the need for companies to focus a lot of attention on their online presence and how this could potentially increase their online sales.

Online shopping: Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

What are the implications of an online presence?

With all of the positives that arise from being online, of course there are also drawbacks. The online world can be a potentially dangerous place with hacking and scams becoming way too common. Another day, another story about companies being hacked, confidential data being released. From the NHS to TalkTalk to Three, companies which hold financial and confidential information are being hacked putting customers’ personal information at risk. Companies hire experts to try to maintain online security and to prevent breaches, but hackers are simply too clever. This article reported that during Three’s security breach, as many as six million customers information were released to hackers, after they managed to hack their customer database. While cyber hacking is serious and dangerous, we must question why it continues to happen to such large companies?

It has been stated that the security of large companies is threatened every day by hackers. Some companies have been hit harder by hackers than others, with TalkTalk being badly hacked three times over recent years. But why them? Are there security systems simply not capable of protecting information? Surprisingly, it was found that the hackers were a 15 year-old, two 16 year-olds and a 20 year-old. The four hackers managed to access the personal information, bank account numbers and sort codes as well as credit and debit card numbers for almost 1.2 million of their customers. The hackers were eventually sentenced for breaching the Computer Misuse Act however, the risk of prosecution does not put off other hackers as scandals continue to happen every day.

Spam Emails: Flickr (Public Domain 1.0).

Shockingly, as many as 156 million phishing emails are sent per day, showing that it is not only companies but also individuals who are targeted by online scams, which can be costly and intrusive. Phishing scams are not just limited to emails however, they can also be used through text messages, instant messaging, telephone calls and website pop ups. Some suggest that phishing emails are most dangerous as they look almost identical to actual company emails, making them harder to detect. To most of us its drilled in our brains not to click on any links that may ask for payment details or personal information, but this is hard when phishing emails are duplicates of those sent by Paypal. We are getting better at detecting these emails but hackers are constantly finding new ways to trick us.

Overall, our digitial society has made us more disconnected from society but more connected online. While we seem more individual from the outside, many are connected online as it provides an aspect of anonymity in a society which lacks privacy. Many young people choose to express themselves through various social media platforms as it can provide a sense of belonging with other similar individuals. However, how much can we really trust the internet? Security and privacy issues are becoming a regular problem. Some people really just don’t know how much of their information is shared online when they sign up for a social media website. Cyber attacks are too regular to large scale companies who are fighting a losing battle with hackers who continue to violate their security systems. This makes us truly question, do the benefits of our digital society outweigh the potentially dangerous costs?


Reflection

I decided to choose the Digital Society module as with new technology appearing more frequently, I thought it would be interesting to see how this impacts our lives and how it is changing our society. I’m interested in the connections between social media and disconnectedness within society. We are obsessed with using social media despite various research showing us the psychological impacts of it. As a Psychology student, I find this aspect of our society very interesting.

Studying the Digital Society module has made me more aware of the digital world we live in and how this world impacts our lives and experiences. We have been introduced to both the positives of living in a digital world as well as the negatives. I believe that learning the implications of today’s society allows me to have a more rounded outlook and realise that today’s technology can be dangerous. I also think its valuable that we discussed the history of the internet and its progressed which has opened so many doors in terms of technology.

The Digital Society module has helped me learn new and important skills. Writing blog posts for Digisoc 1 and 3 were at first a challenge for me as I have never published a blog post before. I feel that this module has taught me skills that are important for the career I hope to into after university. I’m interested in digital marketing and how technology and social media have impacted the marketing industry, which I have learned more about through this module. Therefore, I found that the session on Engagement was particularly useful as it showed us how important social media is for a brand’s image, and the negatives that can arise if a negative image is expressed online by customers.

For me, the main challenges of this module were the assessments, as they were so different to those in my other modules. However, I think that this was a good thing as it has made me more confident in writing blog posts as well as making presentations and presenting them in Kecha Pucha style. This module has been about accepting new forms of technology and our digitalised society and I like how this was also shown through our assessments, which allowed us to get more involved compared to being assessed by essays in other modules.

Overall, from this module I feel that I have learned more about the world we live in and how our society has progressed so much compared to even 20 years ago. I think that learning about the technology and digitalised society we have become is very important, especially as there are more and more exciting careers available in the technology industry. In general, I feel that choosing the Digital Society course which is so different to my other modules, has been a great decision because it is relevant to our lives. This course has allowed me to widen my outlook on today’s society and understand how technology has influenced us.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.