The Use of Social Networking among Students in the Age Groups of 1317 Years

Social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter have evolved into playing a prominent role in our daily lives and have surpassed the traditional means of communication such as phone and mail. Wartman (2009) argues that SNS today have much more relevance and importance than email as a tool for communication and staying in touch with family, friends, and acquaintances. According to Herring (2011), social networking is extremely popular among students, especially those between the ages of 12-18 years. He attributes this phenomenon to the ability to communicate with people having a set of common interests using SNS technology. For instance, SNS allow users to form groups based on a specific subject, allow private communication among select people and provide features to show or hide specific user information and messages based on a set of predefined rules. Such components allow users to establish and nurture virtual relationships regardless of geographical location. This virtual relationship among two or more individuals can be based on various factors including past associative history (classmates, neighbors, etc.), love, business or any other form of social interaction. Traditionally, interpersonal relationships were limited to physical interaction through scenarios such as family, marriage, employment, social clubs, etc., most of which come under the purview of legal frameworks, constraints, and scrutiny. Social networking, however, is not restricted entirely within any of these boundaries and even facilitates the establishment of relationships among individuals who may have never met or seen before physically. Ozok (2009) stresses that this excitement behind the possibility to meet new people, particularly of the opposite sex, that encourages students using socials networking. He further adds that virtual interactions through SNS are also capable of influencing the relationships of users with people close to them and can be either good or bad in nature.