submitted by reader

Social media has revolutionized the way we live today, giving instant access to informative streams of news, the latest updates on aspects of our hobbies or interests, and a platform to interact with our friendship circles at any time. You only have to take a commuter train or bus in the morning to notice just how many people are habitually plugged into their social media accounts. Unfortunately, having such ready access to this software can have side effects. Where marriage or family relationships are concerned, social media can have a detrimental effect.

Too much time connecting with other people

A clear and obvious danger with social media is the temptation to be online at every available opportunity. Where people would once have enjoyed all manner of hobbies or leisure pursuits, nowadays there seems to be an app to cover practically every eventuality. The user-friendliness of websites and the way apps are designed with slick interfaces, all conspire to ensure users are continually drawn back. This can prompt a solitary existence, with families and relationships playing second fiddle to the obsessive behavior of the app user or gamer.

Users can become isolated

Family occasions have always been important, but social media can have a habit of getting in the way of traditional get-togethers. Where individuals are concerned, it can become difficult to ration the periods spent interacting with friends online. People attempting to cut back on the amount of time they indulge in online activities can report similar symptoms to drug addicts going through a withdrawal process. While there can be no denying the sociable aspect of social media, it can also create what might be termed ‘virtual hermits.’

Interpersonal skills are eroded

Being hooked on computer games or feeling the need to immerse yourself in social media platforms is an anti-social aspect of modern life. People might think they are fine-tuning their social skills by spending hours sending text messages via some Internet chat forum, but the connection they are making is so superficial compared to the ones they can make in the real world. There have been well-documented cases of individuals struggling to re-adjust to relationships in an offline situation after having spent so much of their spare time communicating with avatars.

Virtual envy

Anyone involved in a relationship, from a casual encounter through to marriage, is a person who will react to visual stimuli. When people are connecting with social media platforms, they will be faced with all manner of individuals intent on projecting a positive image of themselves to the outside world. Coupled with society’s obsession with the ‘body beautiful,’ typified by models in TV adverts or contestants on reality shows, people can have issues with self-esteem given this constant bombardment of ‘perfect physiques.’ This can have a destabilizing effect on either or both parties in a marriage

Mental health issues

One of the greatest dangers posed by social media is the potential for all these issues – low self-esteem, lack of confidence, social skills, isolation, etc – to promote mental ill-health. You can see why individuals within a marriage or family can become stressed by the negative impact of their social media presence.

The difficulty with suffering detrimentally from aspects of being on social media is that the most drastic cure – simply withdrawing from using these platforms – can lead to even greater feelings of being cut off from social groups and, indeed, society in general. The best solution would be to attempt to find a compromise, one that involved still touching base with familiar contacts, while curtailing the overall time spent online.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...