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TheImpact of Technological Changes Social Media on Family Communication
Communicationtechnologies have dramatically changed the way family memberscommunicate and interact with each other (Bryant & Oliver 9).Today, a family can record a family video of events such as abirthday party or a bris, on phone and send the video to other familymembers who far away or share it on social media. Social media hasalso made it possible for family members to update one another on areal-time basis especially during events that need the attention orattendance of family members. Technological advances in socialmedias has been improved through the discovery of many platforms suchas instagram, twitter, facebook, texting, Skype, websites, webcams,blogs facebook, and others that email-based such as Google+. Thiscommunication channels through social media could not be imaginedonly thirty years ago. Families depended primarily on making phonecalls and writing mails to one another. Many relationships now beginin the cyberspace, reducing the need for physical meetings andgeographical proximity. For example, a couple out on Holiday in anAfrican country can communicate with their children back home inreal-time through Skype. They can also post photographs of theirexperiences on facebook and instagram for their children to sharetheir experience far away from home. Family members includinggrandparents stay in contact on facebook. With phone calls and textmessaging, parents can monitor teens when they are not at home. Otherimproved technologies that complement social media are thoseinstalled on family automobiles such as the Global positioningsystems (GPS) that can tell parents where their children drove to andat what speed they did so. Thus, parents can monitors children intheir active teens through social media platforms not to go astray.Young adults in college occasionally text their parents was once ormore time on Whatsapp, twitter, facebook, and other social mediaplatforms, to tell them how they are doing. Internet access ischanging power relations in some families as tech-savvy youth becomeinformation experts for their families, a skill that can enhancetheir power relative to other family members.
Theimpact of technologies that support social media is immense. Thereare many positive effects that social media has had on familyrelations. However, there are also other problems that social mediahas caused to the family. To understand the entire impact, thepositive and negative effects should be discussed in detail. This,way the reader will be able to manage some of the negative aspects sothat social media becomes an innovations that is a blessing to thecontemporary family rather than a source of conflict and instability(Livingstone 33). On a positive note, social support for challengessuch as infertility, living in blended families, caring for a familymember with a chronic illness have been made easier through socialmedia communication. Social media has made it possible for familymembers to seek support from friends. Since they do have tophysically meet people, they can mobilize family members to met andconsole and provide other material and emotional support for a familymember with a chronic disease. Thirty years ago it took several daysbefore a later informing a person about a sick brother to get totheir home post office, let alone reading it. Today, one can knowabout it almost as soon as the family member begins to feel unwell. Much has been said about how social media separate family membersespecially teenagers who text or sent facebook messages during what aparent hoped would be a family-togetherness event. But research showsthat communication and internet technologies can also bring familiestogether. Using social media can also enhance family connections.
Socialmedia has its own share of negative effects to the family. Manyfamilies have dealt with problems arising from social media such ascyber infidelity (DiMaggio, Paul, et al 322). Furthermore, socialnetworking sites such as facebook and whatsapp have made breaking upand divorce potentially hurtful to former couples. Partners publishdetails of the divorce on their pages. Sometimes the former partnersmight see the posts further hurting the affecting parties becauseother people become aware of the problems that are befalling thefamily.
Socialmedia is also for the digital divide in the family. There have beencases of young people becoming antisocial due to being extremelyaddicted top social media (Giddens, Duneier, Appelbaum & Carr20). Social media addictions are a real societal problem thatpsychologists have to deal with in the contemporary society. Today,people are likely to confide with other people on social media ratherthan family members. It is common to see friends chatting with theirfriends on Facebook and whatsapp, sharing challenges of life to eachother, some of which family members may never know about. Family islosing its position to the virtual family that people establish onsocial media. Individuals should begin sensing addiction when use ofsocial media platforms begins to transition from normal toproblematic. Family member begin to view social media as an importantway to relieve stress, kill loneliness, and manage depression. Whenan individual begins to be addicted, they become poor at maintainingreal-life social networks. Frequent logging in replaces the need tomeet family members, friends, and other close relations to shareexperiences and get supportive interactions. For social mediaaddicts, social media has continuous rewards such as intrinsicsatisfaction, self-efficacy, and an illusion of happiness. As aresult, the behavior exacerbates undesirable moods. When they fall inundesirable mood states, they end up using social media even more asa coping strategy. The repeated response becomes a cyclical patternwith which they unknowingly conform to deal with undesirable moods.Hence, they become psychologically dependent on social media foremotional therapy especially when they are faced with lifechallenges. The psychological dependency increases the potential ofaddiction by the user. Therefore, understanding social mediaaddiction in the scope of other addictive behavior requires a deeperunderstanding its prevalence in the modern society and the behavioralpatterns that constitute addiction.
Inconclusion, technological changes in social media have had bothpositive and negative effects on family communication. In caseswhere the family is keen on cultivating a happy family with healthyrelations, social media plays a very vital role in bonding familiestogether all the time. However, in cases where it is a contributingfactor in family conflict, it causes devastating effects. Thenegative effects could be reversed by perceiving social media as asource of harmony rather than a source of conflict. Perhaps, parentsought to guide children on some of the ways to use social media in amanner that enhances the quality of life.
Bryant,Jennings, and Mary Beth Oliver, eds. Mediaeffects: Advances in theory and research.Routledge, 2009.
DiMaggio,Paul, et al. "Social implications of the Internet." Annualreview of sociology(2001): 307-336.
Giddens,Anthony, et al. Introductionto sociology.New York: WW Norton, 2000.
Livingstone,Sonia. Youngpeople and new media: Childhood and the changing media environment.Sage, 2002.