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How does my social media use impact my family?

Social media is nearly unavoidable. Even if you manage to get by without an account, social media drives everything from marketing to news cycles.

Social media can also have a significant impact on your relationships with your family. While the social media world seems wildly out of control, it is up to you to determine the impact you allow social media to have on your relationships.

Here’s what to consider as you search for a healthy relationship with social media and your family.

Keeping up with the (cyber) Joneses

No matter who you follow on social media, you never see the whole picture. The people who do well rarely post about their struggles, and the people who are having a difficult time rarely post the wins in their lives.

As you scroll through social media, it can be easy to get caught up with comparing your life with those of your friends. In part, this is because people tend to measure their own success or failure by how they perceive other people. You may scroll past an old acquaintance going through a divorce and consider yourself lucky. On the other hand, you may see constant pictures of family vacations and wonder what you did wrong to not be able to do the same.

The part you may not see is where one person’s career took off and their spouse was no longer willing to be supportive. For them, the divorce is ultimately going to be good. The family on vacation might have substantial debt to afford such elaborate trips.

Trying to keep up with the images you see on social media can add stress to your relationships as you try to copy an image that was not real in the first place.

Your goals are your own

Often when people think about goals they think about their career, fitness or finances. In addition to those goals, it is also important to consider your family and relationship goals. Without your own path for success, it is easy to fall into the habit of comparing your situation to those you see on social media.

Consider creating goals for your relationships that include things outside of social media, such as:

  • Spending a technology-free evening or weekend together
  • Taking a break from social media
  • Spouse or family date nights
  • Family dinner every week

Building your relationship with your family happens in the small activities you do every day together.

Creating healthy social media habits

Social media does not have to be entirely bad. It can be a way to connect with friends and family members, especially those who live far away. Developing good habits on social media takes a little discipline but can help support you and your family.

Before you decide to post something on social media, consider factors such as:

  • Whether the others in the post would appreciate being mentioned
  • How you will feel about the post two or more years down the line

When you are considering tagging (or even vaguely mentioning) others on social media, consider whether it will injure or benefit the relationship. If it will harm the relationship, it may not be possible to reverse the damage done by posting about it on social media.

Social media should not be a place to give the full picture of your relationships and, often, the happiest couples share very little about their relationships on social media. These couples often focus their time enjoying each other rather than convincing others how happy their relationship is.

Social media is forever

It may seem that social media is not permanent. There are delete features and ways to hide what you post so that others cannot see your statuses.

While you may be able to control what happens on your page, you cannot control what others do with that information. Someone in your group of social media friends can screenshot a post and send it to anyone on a variety of platforms, including posting it on other social media sites.

When relationships get unstable, it is better to talk to an experienced professional rather than going to social media. A skilled attorney can help you understand what steps you should take depending on what is happening in your relationship.