How Social Media Is Changing Family Relationships
With the tremendous growth and increased technological advancement, technology has become inherent in most aspects of human life today. The embracement of modern technology has continued to influence every aspect of human life. One of the major technological discovery is the internet that led to establishment of social media technology such as twitter, Facebook, whatsapp, instagram among others that have become the main media for human interaction and communication. The invention of portable and affordable technological devices such as smartphone, tablets and laptops has served to ensure that the social media completely overhauls human lives. Among the influenced aspects of human life is family relationships. Social media platforms has a significant influence on families and the embedded relationship. Such influence are both positive and negative. This paper will examine how the social media change family relationship.
Reduction in Face to face family interaction and gathering
Social media as a collection of online communication channels has led to fewer interaction with people around us. Since majority of the people can access social media any time they wish to, it has become more prevalent and people nowadays choose to use the social media to interact with others as it is a simpler and allow efficiency. This has attracted giving it a try. Although social media has been perceived as a positive move, it has caused people and even family members become more antisocial than ever. Although Families meet up for interaction through the social media with the aim on enhancing family bond, it is not as effective as before when the interactions were one on one. According to Arditti, (2015), unlike in tradition where family’s meeting that were perceived to be as very important for discussing family issues at large, today families get posted on the fairing of one another through texts and photos sent through the social media.
Besides, the fact that people can interact through the social media and get photos of one another, there is a reduced drive to visit each other especially a family member. The interaction through the social media reduce the urge to interact physically as they can see each other through photos and platforms such as the Skype.
Reduced family trust
Generally, suspicion about a partner’s social media interaction are always warranted. Social medial has made it possible for dissatisfied spouse to connect with their ex, look for new relationship or seek out a fling. When this is possible spouse today have consequently reduced trust to their fellow partner who spends most of their time on social media as they often suspect that their partner are hooking with others for sexual relationships. Today social media is being associated with mistrust and have led to breakage of marriages.
Other than trust in marriage, social media has impacted trust in the entire family including the extended family, this is through the alteration of sources of trust. (Cloninger, & Strembicki, 2013) noted considerable change in the sources of trust upon which family relationships are grounded. Today, people use the social media to get opinions of various individuals and group to make their decision. Traditionally, families through the elders were consulted at time of decision making and at time entrusted with decision making which each and every member of the family considered as right and conformed to them. This trust has been swayed away as social media has formed a platform for seeking advice from friend and even experts and therefore no longer involve families in decision making.
Social media influence on family intimate relationship
Today, social media has proved to be a thorn on family relations, specifically intimacy. Frequent use of social media sites has by an intimate partner results to accusations over connections and of partners including the fears linked to online cheating which can either be false or true suspicion. This is because social media is known of providing platforms through hookup groups for people to get new partners as well as providing a platform to connect with various people which would lead to cheating. Additionally, social media addiction has made spouse become ignorant of their partner’s feelings along with ignoring their obligations.
Equally significant, social media has impacted family privacy. Couples make social media post on matters of conflicts, happy time and about regular problems in their relationships. Therefore they share such information that ought not to be shared to the general public, this may cause frustration and anger as some spouse are not okay with exposure of intimate details to public that may result to additional conflict thereby creating a repeated problem cycle in a family.
Another aspect of reduced family intimate relationship is the growing family divide. Social media has provided children independence from their parents’ involvement in their social lives. Social media has limited communication with their parent as they are using much of their time on the social media chatting with friends are watching interesting video over the social media. Therefore children are less engaging their parents in their lives especially when it com to lengthy conversation.
When it come to the contribution of family divide, parent too are equally guilty as they are also wrapped up in their own social media affairs too, when they could rather be talking or generally connecting to their children. According to Cloninger & Strembicki,( 2013) the massive use of social media leads to challenges in the establishment of interpersonal relationships with the parents, siblings and relatives therefore resulting to family divide.
Reduced family importance
Social media has overhauled the relationship pattern involving family and friends. Initially before the coming of the social media technology, the family marked the core of a person’s being and basically formed his/her highest connection. Following the general in the line of importance was relatives followed by friends. The introduction and wide use of the social media has changed all these with friends becoming the core of communication, followed by the family, other friends then the relatives come in last. A study by (Burke, ; Kraut, 2014) revealed that consumers averagely command between 250 and 300 friends across the various social networking sites. Among these, they actively keep in touch with about 50 and consider only 10 as really close to them. It is with the 10 close friends that they constantly and regularly engage with over the internet at the expense of their families.
Increased friends importance in expense of that of family is as a result of the fact that through the social media people share posts involving funny clips, interesting stories, gossips among others and enquire advice from their friend freely unlike with a family member hence considering them of great importance forgetting the role and the position of the family in their lives.
Changing role of parent in raising children
When it comes to social media’s impact on parenting however, we have to keep in mind that a child’s relationship with social media should be examined as a driving force behind shifting parenting styles. Therefore we have to examine the very changes in how children socialize due to social media before we look at how parents react, to give precedent to the phenomena of “techno-parenting”
Traditionally, parents used the social structures including relatives, friends and neighbors to monitor the behaviors and development of their children in an effort to successfully guide them through their childhood years to adulthood. Such social structures were important avenues for reporting deviance and issuing the most appropriate disciplinary measure. With the growth of the social media, the use of such structures has been abolished. Presently, parents are forced into online monitoring of their children behaviors through texting, tweeting, and other social networking activities (In Arditti, 2015). Parents are compelled to learn the technologies themselves so as to get attuned to their children’s activities and get the language for successful discussion on the technology-based communications. The modern communication patterns require the family as a whole to keep in touch via the tweeting, texting and posting as opposed to the traditional face to face communication. As a result of the consistent monitoring of the online activities of children by parents, the relationships between them are deemed to significantly diminish over time (Macleighob, 2012).
Parents and children within families have indeed gained a powerful communication tool through the social media. In-person communication occasionally proves to be a challenge for parents and teenagers essentially during the teenage rioting periods. However, the challenge posed by this is that a large percentage of people, estimated at around 30%, are using the variety of the gadgets to communicate to their loved ones via the social networks, instead of initiating an in-person conversation with them. Research reveals that 20% of the participants revealed that they learnt what their family members were up to by checking their statuses over the internet and not by personally asking them, even though the could have been sitting in the next room (Macleighob, 2012).
The relationship between adolescents and the parents is also significantly impacted by the need for privacy versus safety. The cybersex, pornography and online dating that are all tenets of the social networking continue to cause problems and affect the family relationships to a large extent. The parent adolescent relationship is hugely impacted by the collision between safety and privacy. Traditionally (that is before the social media took course), parents experienced little to no barrier in ensuring safety of their children by accessing and investigating every inch of their lifestyles. The utility of the social media is however proving to be a big barrier for the parents. As with any technology, the observance of privacy is also key with the social media. Considering the overwhelming number of adolescents that have embraced the technologies, parents regularly find themselves interfering or invading the ‘privacy’ of their children while trying to ensure their protection. This is often in relation to the parents combing through the texts and browser history on their children’s mobile devices.
Whether or not people want to accept it, social media has several severe negative impacts on their daily lives. Despite some of its vast benefits, they as a culture have to limit their use of social media to a manageable amount. Social media needs to be recognized as a tool to be utilized to a certain extent and not let it take over their lives like it seems to be heading towards every day. Websites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest are very helpful to provide news, gossip, and to keep in contact with friends and family, but people cannot afford to let them become the focal point of their life. People have to, culturally, decide how to manage how this information that is fed to them in order to try and curb the side effects which have been getting worse every year. Websites that cause depression and anxiety should not be tolerated by elder members in today’s social order to any extent. People should be focusing on limiting their children now so they can get the proper exercise they need along with social interactions in order for them to form skills for interacting with other people within their
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Cloninger, J. ; Strembicki, R. 2013. How is Technology Affecting Your Family? Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jan-cloninger-and-rosemary-strembicki-lcsw/how-is-technology-affecting-your-family_b_3915849.html
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