Social media addiction proves loss of intimacy

by Heidi Krick  – Staff Writer – hkrick@unca.edu

Single.  In a relationship.  Married.  It’s Complicated.  How does one determine another’s relationship status in today’s world?  That’s easy; through an act commonly known as Facebook stalking.

In today’s digitized world, the idea of keeping intimate details private is lost, particularly to those of “Generation Z,” also known as the “Net Generation.”  Andrew Keen, in an article for CNN.com, described this newly developed phenomenon as digital narcissism.

More and more people in our permanently-on social networking world are connecting one’s sense of self to their social media presence, Keen said.

“Facebook official” describes the declaration of one’s relationship status and updates via social networking giant, Facebook.

Many relationships today are not considered to be “official” until the relationship has been declared over the digital rooftops.

But how different, or problematic, is this development, compared to the days when men gave their class rings and school letter jackets to their sweetheart.

One-third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word “Facebook,” according to Divorce Online.

ABC News.com reported, in an article published in May, that nearly 80 percent of divorce attorneys claim social networking involvement in divorce proceedings and child custody hearings is increasing as well.

Most of the problems created by social networking websites primarily involve outsiders affecting the emotional condition within existing personal relationships.

Becoming friends with an ex without forewarning your current boy (or girl) friend, posting (or not removing) photographs online of you and an ex, building online relationships with people your partner is not aware you know.  Social networking websites are intended to open the lines of communication, but in personal relationships it seems a lot of these lines are shutting.

Through social networking websites, people continue to disclose everything about themselves; from their relationship status to digitally “checking-in” to their favorite local hang-out.

We know just about every detail of our online friends daily habits, moods and preferences, but how emotionally intimate can we actually be to one another in a few thousand character strokes?

In a few words, it’s complicated.

In our increasingly digitalized world, is too easy to take our relationships for granted.

Facebook is an amazing tool for connecting individuals to distant family members or friends who have moved far away.

However, we all need to remember not to take advantage of those relationships  that we can intimately and personally nurture.

This year, instead of sending a friend or family member a “Happy birthday!” through your Facebook status, why not send a hand-written note or card instead?

While the message may be the same, the extra effort will be immensely appreciated.

 

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