In simple terms, social media is a way in which people interact and exchange messages and views over issues affecting them in life. It could be enjoyable topics, painful issues, or even just sharing information with others.
People can share information by text, image, or video, privately or to a wide audience.
However, for many people, this has gone overboard. Some people have become addicted to social networking. According to Complete Case, Facebook is a leading cause of breaking people’s marriages. In many cases, an addict may spend all of their time chatting with friends or reading their constantly-updated feeds, while the spouse ends up feeling that he or she is not an important part of their partner’s life.
How to know when someone is addicted to social media
Many people use their smartphones to chat with friends, check the news, or watch cat videos. Some factors that could indicate an addiction are:
· Panicking when you cannot find your phone- when only a minute of searching for misplaced phones brings fear and worry, that could mean an addiction.
· Phone out of power- There is growing anxiety when the battery is low, and you are not somewhere that you can charge it again.
· Going through your feeds even when you are engaged in other activities at home that demand your attention.
· Reading through your messages and news feed right before going to bed, checking it in the middle of the night, and keeping internet data on round the clock.
The reasons that addiction has brought families to divorce include:
i. Fights caused by excessive time spent on social media
If, for example, a husband comes home and finds the wife online without paying any attention to him on his arrival, he feels unloved and unwelcome.
Fights may arise when he demands attention from the wife, and in the long run, they will bring about differences that cannot be resolved and end up in divorce.
Studies have proven that at least 15% of marriages in which one partner is addicted to social media end in divorce. Part of the reason is that when even a slight dispute arises, there is little to no time to sort out the issue, And the more it continues, the bigger the crack grows.
ii. Withholding social media passwords from the partner
Many couples hide their social media passwords from their partners. Often the password is kept hidden not out of a need for secrecy, but for the feeling of control over a portion of their personal life.
When the other partner discovers that the password is hidden, he may feel insecure and think there is another relationship.
The feeling of insecurity continues to cause rifts and, in the end, separation.
iii. It makes the other partner feel unimportant
Spending too much time on social media denies the couple a chance to chat and share their lives’ challenges or discuss their hopes and dreams.
The addicted partner may not intend to cause any harm, but so much pain can be caused by loneliness and make the spouse feel irrelevant in their partner’s life.
The person who is not addicted may feel that the other party loves social media more than their life together. He may end up terminating the marriage to pursue happiness elsewhere, rather than opting to live a lonely life in a crowded home.
When jealousy sets in, there is a feeling that the other party is doing something malicious, or even having a relationship outside the marriage. The jealous spouse begins to snoop on their partner’s social life to try and find out if the suspicion is true.
In some cases, a third party is used to spy and confirm the suspicions.
Even if no extramarital relationship exists, the toxicity of long-term jealousy can be fatal to even the strongest marriage.
v. Body language while using social media
Another thing that leads to suspicion is the body language of the partner when they use social media. I once knew a couple who were fighting because of the husband’s body language. Whenever he was on Facebook, he would laugh, smile, and look anxious when chatting.
This led to the wife getting curious she managed to gain access to the husband’s Facebook page, only to discover another woman–and a child!
In the end, the marriage broke apart painfully because of social media, where a new relationship was formed and nourished. It was recognized when it was too late to correct.
vi. Infidelity is created from social media interactions
Marriages throughout history have broken because of infidelity. When a person spends too much time on social media, they can end up meeting a lot of new people. Some of these new people may not know or care if their new online friend is married. A little ‘harmless’ flirting leads to a lot, and that can quickly spiral out of control. If the married party falls into such a trap, their online behavior might spill into the real world and consequently break their homes.
When all is said and done, changing the use of social media in families is not impossible. There are strategies that can be used to reduce the danger.
· Set a specific time for socializing with friends online- This can be done by avoiding day-long conversations. Social media communications should be concise and straight to the point.
Avoiding long conversations will minimize any inappropriate intimacy that may develop between the people communicating online.
· Use joint social media accounts- To avoid conflicts and jealousy, create social media accounts under both partners’ names. This prevents any suspicions that could arise regarding communication shared online.
· Share passwords- So long as it’s not work-related, there should be nothing to hide between you and your spouse. If the marriage is based on trust, then you should never fear to share your passwords.
After all, there is nothing confidential between a husband and wife. Communication needs to be completely open.
· Offline communication- Find a way to have frequent communication with your partner. More and more, even close families communicate primarily through social media and messaging apps. However, this is not ideal for a healthy family dynamic. It’s essential to create time and discuss family issues in person.
This builds a bond of love and a desire to reach out to one another at all times.
· Disconnect from Social media as much as possible- Truth be told, life revolves around social media 98% of the time. When the Wi-Fi is on the whole day and night, constant distractions will arise and mess with family communication. Why not set some time apart to switch the gadgets off while at home for a few hours to create quality time with the family?
Share a candlelight dinner and have fun with your partner as much as possible. This will create a feeling of intimacy and a sense of being appreciated by the other partner.
Social media is here to stay, and, at times, it might go beyond our ability to fully control. In some cases, social media addiction can be as powerful as an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
In such cases, one thing to consider is seeking help from a psychologist who will be in a position to give advice on how to manage oneself and avoid overuse of social media. In the same manner that drug addiction affects families, social media addiction can have wide-reaching effects. The best advice is: if it gets beyond your control, seek help.
Some may have fallen into addiction because of a need for love, a desire to feel unappreciated, and an unbalanced or stale relationship.
A psychologist will help resolve these issues and mend the marriage that could otherwise end up in pieces.