Social media has trended massively over the past few years. There has been a considerable percentage of people using social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and other growing platforms (Uhls et al., 2017). In 2005, it was reported that five per cent of adults were into social media, and the number has currently shot to 70 percent (Allen, 2019). Social media usage is also popular among businesses. It was reported that many businesses use social media sites repeatedly for advertising and marketing; this has increased over recent times. Hence, this has brought interest to individuals, businesses, and society, but there is also a growing concern about physical connections, especially people misusing social media. It is vital to understand that despite the benefit social media has in society, it may adversely impact our lives, physical relationships, and psychological well-being (Burman, 2021). This essay will present arguments whether the use of social media is useful or detrimental for creating and maintaining relationships.
Lack Of Physical Connection
First, obsession with social media can change patterns in physical activities and meetups, contributing to isolation. Reports indicate individuals who have technological devices like computers and mobile phones are likely to spend more time browsing than meeting and connecting to others, especially in public places(Burman, 2021). Traditional ways of interaction involved people meeting up in parks, visiting each other at their homes for lunch or dinner, or going to the movies with friends. Lack of physical intimacy is linked to depressive behaviours and symptoms and other serious issues. Various questions have been raised on social media’s impact on physical relationships, especially in young people (Burman, 2021). According to some findings, young people use media to make and maintain friendships more than before. Also, approximately everyone has been reported making new friends through various platforms while fewer connect with offline friends daily.
Negative Online Comparisons
Also, researchers have identified social media as playing a significant role in self-objectification, self-esteem issues, and high-risk behaviours, especially with young people (Allen, 2019). The nature of social media has provided a platform where individuals judge themselves based on how they see others have social validation. Also, social media has caught cyberbullying behaviours among individuals; you find people having online grudges due to controversies and tarnishing each other’s names. It is noted that online bullying is linked with more risks like suicide than traditional bullying (Uhls et al., 2017). It can lead to mental instability and related conditions like depression and antisocial behaviours. Additionally, health experts think that digital technology may have more adverse effects and changes in physical development in ways not yet discovered. This is because the exposure to technology is happening at an early age hence may have neural level changes and cause more risks (Allen, 2019).
Individuals need to note the difference between online and offline support. Despite individuals saying how social media helps them feel more connected and understand their friends emotionally, which is critical in the emotional connection, there are more concerns on these wide networks that lead to superficial interactions that hinder intimacy (Faelens et al., 2021). These days, individuals have unlimited access to their peers through technological devices like mobile phones, resulting in romantic, corporate, and social connections.
Based on research from Subrahmanyam, after comparing face-to-face interactions and text messages, the hypothesis is that digital interactions can have more temporary because they are briefer and makes one feel good. Still, the feeling dispersals quickly compared to face-to-face interactions (Allen, 2019). She notes that today people are tech natives; they may be less interested in the online-offline division. Additionally, she thinks there is much connection between the physical and online world; hence it may be difficult to judge. Therefore, both aspects should be well balanced to achieve well-being.
Additionally, studies have shown how social media have hindered marriages and relationships because of lack of physical time and exposure to third parties in relationships. It has allowed people to be more engaged and cares about their partner’s online activities, making others upset about what their partners have chosen to share (Burman, 2021). Sharing too much can lessen intimacy in a relationship, while sharing too little can cause others to question the authenticity of a relationship. They are finding a healthy balance between the two has been controversial, leading to breakups and divorces. Also, it limits quality time spent with partners and decreases attention in relationships (Burman, 2021). According to a recent study, other negative effects of social media include outstation. If someone is engrossed in social media activities, they will always feel irritated if their partners or family members are interrupted. Therefore, these are among the pitfalls social media has, but despite that, there are positive aspects sit has on creating and maintaining relationships.
Counter – Argument
Social media has proved to have a positive aspect in creating relationships. It has enabled people to connect with many populations globally at any time. This has created new friendships and led some individuals to meet their life partners online. Also, social media has given opportunities to couples who live far from each other to connect on chats and video calls to maintain relationships. Additionally, parents can now monitor their children’s behaviours and characters by having insights from online statuses, photos, friends, and other activities. Apart from personal relationships, customers and businesses can now keep a positive relationship through online inquiries and feedback to ensure the smooth running of the business (Enke & Borchers, 2019). Notably, if a company is strategic and proactive in creating content and posting, it keeps followers entertained and increases brand popularity.
Social media has taken its place in the real world and interfered with many lives. From the look of technological advancement in this dynamic world, social media will continue gaining popularity and usage over the coming years. As users continue to log in to their social profiles, they are being removed from the real world and put into a virtual space with different dynamics. Since it has positive and negative effects, it is upon parents, guardians, policymakers, and teachers to ensure children use social media constructively to lead to their positive development. For example, teachers should encourage social media for educational purposes. Parents should set ground rules on when and how to use social media. Policymakers should ensure explicit content is out of reach to underage children to avoid risky behaviours like sexual violence. This way, children can grow up in a safe online environment that does not affect them physically, emotionally, and socially.
Allen, S. (2019). Social media’s growing impact on our lives. American Psychological Association. Retrieved February 22, 2022, from https://www.apa.org/members/content/social-media-research
Burman, S. (2021). Social Media and its Impacts on Human Relationships. Buddhism and Social Responsibility in the New Normal (BUSRIN)(Lanna Journal of Buddhist Studies and Cultures), 3(1). https://firstojs.com/index.php/LJBSC/article/view/1021
Enke, N., & Borchers, N. S. (2019). Social media influencers in strategic communication: A conceptual framework for strategic social media influencer communication. International Journal of Strategic Communication, 13(4), 261-277. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1553118X.2019.1620234
Faelens, L., Hoorelbeke, K., Soenens, B., Van Gaeveren, K., De Marez, L., De Raedt, R., & Koster, E. H. (2021). Social media use and well-being: A prospective experience-sampling study. Computers in Human Behavior, 114, 106510. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563220302624
Uhls, Y. T., Ellison, N. B., & Subrahmanyam, K. (2017). Benefits and costs of social media in adolescence. Paediatrics, 140(Supplement_2), S67-S70. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/140/Supplement_2/S67/34168/Benefits-and-Costs-of-Social-Media-in-Adolescence