Over the last 10 years the popularity of social media exploded, but whilst we all scrolling through our phones, we don’t think about the wider impact of how we use social media and who we talk to. Using social media is a hotly contested subject, from how parents deal with their children using it or to how couples engage with different platforms. There really is a large scale impact on relationships when we scroll through our news feeds endlessly.
Social Media And Marriages
One of the main areas of social media has been blamed for damaging is marriages. Social media provides us with the ability to passively engage with old flames by checking up on them with no fear of reprisals due to our activity being invisible. This can stir up jealousy in a partner, especially if the spouse is caught looking at other profiles.
Problems can increase if a spouse hands out an olive branch to an old flame, whilst it may seem innocent to have a catch-up and talk about what has happened since you last spoke, this can leave the spouse feeling dejected, the key to re-engaging with people from your past is being open and honest with your partner as to why you want to contact them and how you’re going to do it. If they voice a genuine concern about initiating contact, then it may be the best decision to leave it.
Social media provides us with a veil of protection, messages can be deleted, secret conversations can be held, as well as pictures that only last 8 seconds. Social media is now geared for temporary communication and invisible messages. Top-flight American divorce lawyers are now citing that these factors are contributing to more and more divorces in the US. Whilst there may not be any definitive proof of infidelity, receiving secret messages and hiding behind apps such as Snapchat can decrease trust in relationships.
Social Media And The Perfect Life
Whilst it is easy to concentrate on social media and the infidelity aspects, the other side of excessive use is how we perceive others’ lives. The website Quantum Marketer mentions that some apps, especially Instagram are a highlight reel of people’s best moments; it can become problematic when spouses become too focused on other people’s lives and either strive to create the perfect cinema reel or become depressed when they are unable to do so.
What About Children And Social Media?
Increased use of social media in children can have wide reaching impacts. From lack of sleep, poor concentration levels as well as becoming victims of online bullying and harassment. Experts advise that children, especially those under the age of 14 have all of their use monitored, with full access given to parents and parental blocks in place. A child that doesn’t have these boundaries set can face a wide-ranging set of problems that will impact the entire family.
So, How Can We Live Happily In This Online World?
There is no getting away from social media, it is unlikely that everyone in your house will go cold turkey, delete Facebook and never use Instagram again, but what we can all do is moderate our usage. Have a specific period, every day where there is a no phone policy, be it at dinner or whilst you are all sat down watching your favorite show, make the most of your time together. You can also create no phone zones; research has shown that 50% of couples will check their social media before saying good morning to their spouse. This type of behavior could be detrimental to your relationship. Instead, have a no phone policy in the bedroom or only use social media once you have both woken up and said good morning to one another. For children, the best thing to do is maintain access to their accounts. This way you can check their amount of usage as well as who they’re taking to, to ensure their safety.
Transparency is the best option for everyone involved, from partners who may want to find out how an old flame is, or a teenager exploring friendships in an online world. Make sure that discussions about the use of social media is frank, honest and open. This way you will always be able to have a discussion about social media in your house and how everyone uses it.