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Technology does have its pros, but nobody can deny that the cons that come with it are starting to become a major problem. Especially when it comes to the internet, from parents to kids, everyone has multiple social media accounts which keeps them engaged for long periods of time. People post almost anything on their accounts, from pictures of events to minute things like telling their friends and followers that they just got their nails done.
Impact of Social Media on Family Relationships
There are many types of relationships that people develop over time, and the most important by far is the ‘family relationship’, of course. It is here that the impact of social media can be seen the most. Earlier, families would bond over face-to-face conversations that would be had with one another when everybody was done with their day’s work and were at home, unwinding. These days, families barely greet one another, and everyone is engrossed in their own news posts on their own social media accounts. Watching videos, reacting to posts online and responding to friends seems to have become more important than even saying hello to one another. Below we discuss some further effects that social media has on family relationships.
1. Positive Impact
Here are some ways that social media can positively impact family relationships:
- One of the most positive effects of social media on marriage is that couples who spend a lot of time away from each other can keep in touch with each other and feel closer to the other despite the distance.
- Couples are better able to get to know their other friends and social circles since social media feeds make it easier to see what a person gets up to and the things they like doing. It often makes them feel closer to each other despite having become friends only recently.
- As the case often is, children grow up, go to college and start their own lives. In cases like this, it is easier for parents to keep in touch with their children through the help of social media. With the ability to video chat and share pictures and so on, families who live away from one another are able to close that distance, even if only through cyberspace.
- With the ability to share locations and tag people, families can often share locations of favourite restaurants, family moments and outings and generally have a place to keep all their happy and fond memories.
- If both parents and children have seen the same posts on their social media, they can have conversations about it and can bond over other things they may share or enjoy on social media such as favourite pages that cater to certain hobbies like crafts, cooking, and others.
- Brings about a sense of security since everyone knows that they can get in touch with different people at any time if they need to.
- Families who have been through a divorce may find social media useful. Children can keep in touch with the parent they do not live with better if they are able to communicate with them on social media. The parents too will not feel as though they are missing out since they will be able to see posts on social media and learn about their child. They’ll be able to interact more with the child, apart from their scheduled visits.
2. Negative Impact
Here are some ways that social media negatively impacts family relationships:
- Social media has the ability to become very addictive. Most people find it has become a compulsion for them to check their phones every few minutes to see if they have any new notifications. In fact, the addiction is so real and so strong that it has been found that people experience the same kind of withdrawal symptoms as a drug addict if they are unable to check their social media.
- The compulsive checking of social media has made face-to-face communication very difficult. Family members may communicate with each other online or on social media rather than talk to each other. A husband and wife may spend time next to each other, but their minds are engrossed in their own social entertainment as they scroll through their individual feeds. This is one of the negative effects of social media on marriage in its earliest stages.
- As people tend to only post the best parts of their lives on social media, it can be very easy to imagine that that is what their lives are always like. This can sometimes lead to making families or couples very unhappy with their own lives and situations.
- One of the saddest realities of social media is that it gives those with the tendency to be unfaithful another platform to put into practice this negative trait. They may be nurturing other relationships on the side that their partner may have no idea about. Before, changes in behaviour may have been an indication that something is wrong, but since the normal behaviour for people these days is to sit on their phones all the time, nothing seems amiss.
- Studies have shown that there is a link between depression and increased social media usage, and adolescents are most likely to become affected by it, which in turn, affects their family relationships.
Tips to Maintain a Healthy Balance Between Social Networking and Family Relationships
Here are some ways to maintain a healthy balance and reduce the negative effects of social media on family communication:
- For married couples, the best way to make sure that social media does not cause any negative effects in your relationship is if you have an open social media relationship with your partner. This means sharing passwords and never sharing, liking or reacting to anything that you know your partner would disapprove of.
- Limit the things that you share on social media. Families often like what happens in the privacy of their homes to stay there, and oversharing can sometimes cause friction between two or more family members.
- Don’t compare your family members or way of life to that of anyone that you see online. Most often, social media accounts do not share the whole story, and you’ll have no idea what is going on behind the scenes of certain pictures and videos. Your family members will not appreciate being made to feel like they are not good enough.
- When you do share things on social media, make sure that you share things that are fun, pleasant and share them with your family members as a way of remembering good times. Giving them a shout out will also make them feel loved since most social communication between people happens online; and so, it is a public way of showing affection.
Since social media is not only used as a social platform but is also being used to market ideas and products and share other ideas, it can be difficult to distance yourself from it. But the best thing that you can do is to learn to limit the amount of time that you spend on social media and make time to spend with the people who are physically present in front of us.