Gabriella Hendricks ’21
Both a blessing and a curse. Social media is truly what you make of it. Social media, when used sparingly can even prove to benefit relationships as it bridged the gaps of long distance relationships and can grow people closer even across miles of distance. On the other hand, social media often creates false realities of ideal relationships and sets unrealistic expectations. Social media has drastic effects on individuals alone, and these issues can be detrimental to relationships.
It is estimated that over 210 million people suffer from social media addictions as this phenomenon can be largely attributed to the dopamine-inducing social environments that social networking sites produce.
Even without actual addictions, social media users are prone to become insecure in their self image as they strive for the facade of perfection seen on screen. In addition, the amount of time spent on social media has been proven to have a positive correlation with increased rates of depression and anxiety. In relationships, it is damaging to have low self esteem, or other internal issues that need to be addressed before issues in the actual relationship can be solved. Furthermore, social media can lead to suspicion and jealousy due to the amount of exposure to information that lies within every social networking site. For example, couples that share each other’s locations grow jealous of each other when one is out without the other, yet also suspicious of what they are doing and who else they are with.
In today’s world, social media has caused newer generations to lack productive communication skills as they see social media as an out and safe place to indirectly share any message they please. Serious, personal conversations are avoided and rather made colloquial through the use of emojis and gifs. Media’s direct messages leave wide room for miscommunication and users often send messages they would not have the courage to communicate in front of someone’s actual face. Social Media seems to shield them. Arguments are often blown out of proportion, or relationships progress far too quickly with only a surface level, on screen foundation.
Relationships must be reciprocal and mutual through interactive communication, trust, and effort. Social media, when used properly can be a tool to aid relationships, yet, more often than not, it leads to mistrust, declined mental health, and unrealistic expectations placed on relationships. The root of broken, failing relationships isn’t always to blame for either specific person; rather, they ought to be blamed for worldly causes like social media that affect the way relationships are built, maintained, and salvaged, and affect the way our brains process aspects of relationships correlated with social media versus in person, face to face.
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