Social media use in the UK has risen significantly in the past year, as 57.10 million people in the UK were documented to be on social media.
Social media is a great tool which can be used to connect with people all over the world. However, excessively spending time on social media can cause a dent or strain on relationships, such as romantic relationships, family relationships, workplace relationships or friendships. It is important to know the upsides and downsides of social media as it relates to our relationships.
Relationships and Social Media
Although social can help build relationships, social media can also break relationships.
Spending so much time online surfing through social media can mean lesser time is spent actually communicating and being there for your friends or loved ones around you. With social media, it’s easy to get carried away with all the fun and exciting content being posted daily.
You may either find yourself being emotionally absent from loved ones or subtly comparing yourself with the people on social media who seem to be living the life of your dreams. These feelings, in turn, could lead to negative changes in your relationships.
Am I Addicted to Social Media?
Social media addiction is a real condition that the vast majority ignore. You can be addicted to social media, and here’s how to know if you are:
- Always on social media all day, every day.
- Using social media as a means to de-stress.
- Reduced physical activity as you are always on your phone.
- Not having the time to have meaningful conversations with loved ones around you.
- Isolating yourself and opting out of activities, so you could stay active on social media.
- Making changes to your life so you could meet up to the standards of social media.
- Feeling stressed and uneasy when you are not able to go on social media in cases such as a dead phone battery or a stolen phone.
The Negative Impact of Social Media on Relationships
Social media, despite its numerous advantages, can be very bad for relationships. Some negative impacts of social media on relationships include:
- Feeling disconnected or distanced from your partner, friends or family. While you spend all your time on social media, certain things may happen with your partner that you may not be aware of. This can lead to your partner drifting away and confiding in someone else who would pay attention to them.
- Spending less quality time with your partner.
- Increased rate of arguments and disagreements regarding your excessive use of social media.
- Lack of openness in the relationship, and subsequent distrust.
- Feeling unfulfilled in your relationship because you are comparing your relationships to those on social media.
- A feeling of insecurity, as you may always want to check your partner’s activity and monitor what they post.
- Feeling dissatisfied with your body image and appearance as you continually compare yourself to unrealistic standards on social media.
It’s Not All Bad
Social media isn’t all bad, as it may have a positive impact on your relationships. Some benefits of social media in your relationships include:
- Being able to connect with loved ones who are live far away. Social media connects everyone around the world together. With social media, you can keep in touch with family and friends who live far away without needing to leave the comfort of your home.
- Meeting new people. Social media serves as a platform where new people can meet and link up. New friendships and romantic relationships can blossom from the confines of social media.
- Being able to learn new things. On social media, there are thousands of resources which are posted to educate people on various topics. With one click, you can learn a whole bunch of things without having to go to the library.
- Knowing the activities of friends and loved ones. On social media, people tend to post their thoughts and their activities. This feature can help you stay in the loop of what is going on with them.
If you have a Problem
It is important to seek help early if you are concerned about your social media use. Catching and treating it early with personalised treatment regimens play vital roles in curbing this addiction and leading you to long-term recovery.
Here are tips to help you overcome social media addiction and take full control over your life:
- Limit your screen time. Consciously set a daily screen time where you go through social media, after which you set your phone aside. This way, you could utilise the time away from your phone to relate and communicate with your partner, family or friends.
- Social media detox. You could hand your phone over to a friend for safekeeping while you detox from social media. By detox, I mean staying away from social media for a while. During this period, all devices with an internet connection should be put aside while you spend more time outdoors, meeting new people and visiting friends and family.
- Evidence-based therapies. Overcoming an addiction is no easy feat, and will require support. You may contact an addiction specialist or a therapist who will walk you through this path to recovery. Some evidence-based therapies that would be utilised include Cognitive behavioural therapy (which helps to treat mental health conditions associated with social media addiction such as anxiety and depression),
Social media is a very useful tool which can make or break relationships. The key to successfully using social media while maintaining healthy relationships is moderation. Social media addiction can rob you of a lot of things, particularly in your relationships when you miss out on bonding activities, important family events and intimate conversations. If you are addicted to social media, don’t hesitate to seek help today.