Social media invokes high interaction (yes, I know) amongst peers. However, it causes limited to no interaction between siblings and even parents and their children. What about parents to parents? With the many relationships that one develops in their lives, the most important by far is their family. Most of these families think that everyone will be sitting around a fire, talking to each other, or even playing board games and not struggling with a social media addiction. However, a study on media influence conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids aged 8-18 years old spend over 7 hours a day using electronic media.
Most psychologists are concerned that technology is slowly breaking down family communication by robbing off the family’s attention, communication, and the feeling of safety within the family unit. Sherry Turkle, in “alone together” talks about a study conducted where children reported that they felt their parents were addicted to their phones or computers.
Children have a desire for their parents to spend quality time and interact with them since one-on-one conversations have become very rare. Families now spend time posting pictures, making updates about their lives, and talking to their friends. This has had a serious impact on people’s ability to communicate and form real relationships in life since it causes dissatisfaction, discontent, jealousy, and other negative emotions.
It also offers a safe channel for people in a relationship to cheat on their partners and it is very easy to forget the blurred line between social media and the real world, and clearly young people are struggling to prioritize the right. This can lead to mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.
But if we demonize social media as an evil tool of modernization we would be unfair since it has also helped many relationships. For example, couples or families who have spent time apart for long periods can still feel close to each other by communicating and interacting via social media, your interaction with loved ones does not have to be limited since you can follow what’s happening in their lives over social media.
The memory feature on social media also allows families to re-live amazing family moments through pictures, videos, tags, and check-ins. We also get to follow what’s happening in their lives and reach out to them and offer support and guidance.
Social media also allows family members to see what each other is posting and this lets them bond over things that they like. Then it helps them keep close over shared interests, hobbies, and more. While divorce is very common, children still need stability. They need both parents in their lives and while parents may not get along on their own, they can still communicate with their kids over social media which ensures there’s no estrangement.
Though, it is no easy task to quantify the positive and negative impacts of social media especially on relationships since one’s man meat is another man’s poison….let us lookout for what our young children and especially teenagers are doing on the internet.
Author: Brenda Wangari
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