The Impact of Social Networking Platforms on Family Relationship

free essayThe discussion on the impact of online social networking platforms continues to draw diverse reactions from people all over the world. In the Western culture, there are numerous debates on the essential benefits that the society draws from the utility. In essence, these are networking tools that provide space for people to interact. They include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn among others. The emergences of diverse Internet technologies have been promoting the utilization of these platforms. Consequently, many people spend their time taking part in online activities. Nevertheless, it is notable that the networking platforms have an impact on family relationships. It is because people do not use their time for personal interaction. They only send and receive messages from one another using these platforms. Physical relations are fundamental for cementing and increasing the longevity of an association.

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There are considerable advantages that have come with the social media networks. Social media has presented an opportunity for people in different parts of the world to interact at very low cost (Young, 2011). Before the introduction of social media platforms, people from different continents could not easily communicate on a daily basis. A meeting would require physical traveling which was quite costly. Most businesses have become digital and have managed to advertise their products globally through social media networks. Customers also place orders and purchase items on these platforms (Young, 2011). Social media has activated various labor unions, allowing people to share the conditions of their workplaces and getting worldwide attention. Another advantage of social media networks is the human rights forums that engage people globally. These forums have allowed international intervention in affairs of nations where human rights are not respected. News has also become instant, the occurrence of an event in Africa is quickly known in America by a message that takes seconds to be displayed in social media. It is notable that social media has brought positive impacts as a result of societal pressure based on the society opinion towards a matter.
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There are however significant adverse effects of the social media on family relationships. The reluctance for physical meetings as a result of the availability of social media communication has adversely impacted family relationships, resulting in a generation where family ties and associations have lost their value. Carefully analyzing the advantages of social media mentioned above, it is easy to identify that these benefits are more global than personal. The input of social media is advantageous on a global front and perspective. This aspect implies that social media has not been quite fundamental to personal relationships. It has benefited to cooperative and international associations but not individual relationships. One kind of the relationships that has been adversely impacted is the family relationships (Awolusi, 2012). It is worth noting, that physical meetings can never be substituted by online communication because of the nature of the two types of interactions (Awolusi, 2012). Personal relationships such as family relationships require more touch and intimacy that cannot be provided by the social networks. Social network messages tend to offer facts on a matter; the communication is devoid of meaningful and truthful indulgence. This kind of interaction is fair on a communal or international relationship where persons are only concerned about facts. In family relationships, individuals are more concerned about  personal implication of messages, the non-verbal cue beyond the message that brings meaning to it.

Psychologists have identified that communication happens in two aspects, the non-verbal and the verbal one. The non-verbal aspect contributes around 85% to relaying the exact implication of a particular communication. It is therefore evident, that since family relationships hold a lot of emotional attachment, the social media platform proves to be ineffective to its nature. Thus, when family members interact only through the social media, the relationships become less stable, and the intimacy and strong association aspects disappear causing individuals to forget the real essence of family ties. Communication is paramount to the existence of any relationship, without it being effective, relationships perish.

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Misunderstanding rises between parents and their children at the age when children are a lot exposed to social media. Parenting skills are challenged during this age. The parent can no longer control the extent of exposure to information that a child receives. Further, the parent cannot regulate the type of information that their children should access and at what ages (Bessière et al., 2008). The social media platform has exposed children and  teenagers to a range of information that causes them to rebel against the parental care that their parents offer (Pempek, Yermolayeva, & Calvert, 2009). Some parents are not concerned with the growth and development of their children. Such kind of parents allow their children to be uncontrollably exposed to all sorts of influences. These children become rude, drug addicted and misbehaved at a considerably young age. The same children become friends with those whose parents value their growth and exposure. Conflict, therefore, arises when the well-meaning parents are contradicted by their children who have interacted with the poorly parented children. The children begin to think that their parents do not love and care about them as they restrict them  the things that other parents allow to their children. The parents, on the other hand, have good and positive intentions towards the wellbeing of their children. This conflict results in very poor parent-child relationships.

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The family institution has for a long time been a private territory. The intimacy in families has been based on the personal sharing of information by individuals. A family is where people share their most embarrassing moments, the challenges in life and more personal information that they cannot share with individuals outside the family. The element of secrecy and trust cemented family associations. This element produced the value of family ties. Also, sharing of information brought the element of friendship which is fundamental to any relationship. The presence of social media has significantly reduced the sharing value (Tong et al., 2008). A lot of people are now opting to share what they are experiencing through these platforms. People post messages about their happy and sad moments, and it is no longer a private affair. Further, research has revealed that teens between the ages of 8-18 spend approximately seven hours on social media in a day. It is worth noting, that the time spent on social media is also high among adults. Social media has taken the time that should be used for family interaction. People come home from work or school and engage in the various social media platforms instead of  spending time together (Schutt, 2009). This has greatly impacted family relationships in a negative way.

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Therefore, it is evident that social media has positively contributed to global relations but not personal ones. It is true that families are straining from the negative impacts of social media. Family relationships are derailed under this new technology development. A lot of people have not paid attention to this loss that the society as a whole is suffering from. People are more overwhelmed by the material gain that social media is contributing. The family is the most important aspect of society.  Thus, much still needs to be done in tailoring the social media tools in a manner that will embrace and support family relationships.