BY DEVON COLLINS
Social media is putting relationships in danger. Experts say now more than ever, social media is a cause for insecurity, addiction, and mental health issues, which interfere with relationships.
Andrew Kirk, from Guelph, says that people have tried to use social media to ruin his current relationship.
“I was a rotation worker up in Northern Ontario and this person that neither myself, or my significant other knew, decided to message me trying to send me a nude picture. When I was honest and said that I was in a relationship, this person started messaging my partner saying I said that he was good looking,” says Kirk.
Kirk says that although he and his partner trust each other, these things can take a toll on any relationship.
“I feel like people get jealous and want what they don’t have. These are the kinds of people that have no life and just want to interrupt a good thing. When they try and send pictures, it can cause tension between a person and their partner,” says Kirk.
Kirk says that it is easier to attack relationships when you have a computer screen to hide behind. He says that people who use social media to attack relationships feel invincible because of privacy options and distance.
“People only do this kind of thing because they feel as if it won’t get back to them. Whether or not they have had a bad life experience, or are just the jealous type and don’t like seeing public displays of affection, it’s really easy for them to excuse themselves and feel like they can get away with it without any consequences,” says Kirk.
“It’s very easy for people to use social media to attack relationships because they have a computer screen to hide behind”
“Social media usage used to be regulated to certain times and locations. Now that we have so much access to people’s lives, it makes us compare and feel like we are not measuring up,” says Sharma.
She says that relationships do not thrive when they are put under a lens.
“The bottom line is that social media doesn’t turn someone into an untrustworthy person, it might just make it easier for them to demonstrate this characteristic. It becomes much more difficult to hide indiscretions. It only puts a giant magnifying glass on your relationships,” says Sharma.
Sharma says that social media is addictive to teens because it has been shown to be used when they are feeling emotionally weak.
“When you supplement negative emotions and use unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, or social media to fill a void, you run the risk of addiction. These addictive behaviours impact depression and anxiety. Self-esteem has been at its lowest in connection with social media,” says Sharma.
Emily Burrows, a Sheridan student in the Social Services program, says that her relationships have been affected by social media because it causes a need for attention.
“The feeling that we need likes or comments on our social media can become addicting and take up a large portion of time. This causes a negative impact on my relationships with family, friends, and partners,” says Burrows.
Burrows says that social media can cause a lack of emotional response when you start a relationships behind a computer screen and continue its development in person. She says that a lack of face-to-face communication can lead to long-term problems.
“Social media has made it so easy for people to interact and form web-based relationships through dating apps, like Tinder. This has given us the mindset that we don’t even need to form ‘real’ relationships,” says Burrows.
Sharma says that to avoid these problems, people in relationships need to be mindful of their usage. She says that if both partners are using social media that they should be open about it and nothing should be kept a secret.
“A lot of people report a significant drop in their mood after spending any amount of time on social media. If you are measuring how you feel after you use it, and you feel lousy, it is time to stop using it all together. With any great privileged tool that comes with a lot of power, comes a responsibility to use it mindfully,” says Sharma.