Millennials, Here’s How Social Media Impacts Your Relationships
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Being an emotionally healthy person requires that you develop meaningful relationships outside of your family circle. If you’re like most millennials, social media is a tool you use for making new personal connections.
Studies have shown that people mostly use social media sites like Facebook because they meet the basic need of connecting to others: Making friends, keeping tabs on their lives, and updating friends on the status of your life.
While sites like Facebook were designed to connect people online who already knew each other offline, most people using them have formed connections with people whom they didn’t know outside of Facebook. That’s particularly the case with millennials.
But how does social media impact the quality of friendships among members of this generation? Like gambling and substance use, the need for attention via likes or comments can quickly become addictive and cause controversy between friends. In fact, according to a Kaspersky Lab study, 42% of social media users admit to feeling jealous when a friend’s posts receive more attention than theirs.
The need to garner likes can also cause people to betray the relationships they often claim to value. For example, 15% acknowledge posting pictures of their friends under the influence of alcohol.
Revealing confidences and posting other embarrassing pictures is also an issue as 58% acknowledge being upset or embarrassed because of a friend posting a photo that they did not want to be seen.
Unmet expectations prevail on social media
Catfishing is the act of fooling another person into believing they are being pursued for friendship or romance by someone who doesn’t really exist. It’s often done to humiliate and embarrass the victim or as an act of revenge over some real or imagined slight.
Up to 59% of millennials consider online dating as a good way to meet new people today. Yet, at the same time, up to 54% of online daters believe that the other person shared fake or false information on their profile, and 28% have felt harassed or received uncomfortable requests on social media.
The same is quite true for non-romantic relationships. As people tend to put their best face forward on social media, the friendships formed can be less than genuine. Many millennials report being misled or disappointed when an online friend wasn’t what they first appeared to be. However many feel as if people will eventually reveal their true selves.
The bottom line is that millennials should adopt a slow approach to friendships that are formed entirely online. This will give them time to learn who people truly are rather than connecting with a carefully crafted persona.
The impact of social media on millennial marriages
A recent study revealed a strong correlation between social media use and unhappy marriages and divorce. Specifically, increased enrollment on social media is tracking with increased divorce rates and reports of unhappy marriages.
“Social media doesn’t only influence the way we make friends,” said Julia Rodgers, co-founder of Holistic Divorce. “Our romantic lives receive additional pressure as well. While the study does not prove causation, it is certainly a disturbing phenomenon.”
A poll conducted by Pew Research Center mirrors the previous study. Some 45% of millennial respondents said that social media has had a “major impact” on their relationships.
Let’s take a look at the way that many millennials see social media impacting their marriages.
1. Lack of personal attention and additional tension
According to the same survey from Pew Research Center, 25% of respondents claim that their spouse was too distracted with their phone when they were together. An additional, 18% of respondents between 18-29 also added that they previously had serious arguments over their partner’s obsession with spending time online.
2. Jealousy, infidelity and distrust
Almost every social media outlet has a means for people to communicate with one another privately. This can be used to pursue extramarital relations. The existence of these forms of communication can also provoke feelings of jealousy and distrust. Some 34% of women and 62% of men admit to snooping on their partner’s text and other private messages. Ironically, nearly a third would consider such snooping grounds for ending a relationship.
The good news
Yet, despite all the draws, more marriages than ever are now beginning as the result of people connecting online through social media or dating sites. These marriages are proving to be just as strong and viable as more traditional unions. In addition to this, some couples are putting together social media prenups – special agreements governing what the couple deems to be acceptable social media behavior.
It’s important to keep in mind that most millennials are able to use social media in healthy ways without suffering any negative consequences in their relationships. The key is to set healthy boundaries, to be as honest as possible, and to pursue online relationships with caution.
Source: Jimmy Rohampton on Forbes