Step Away From the Screen!

Social Media: Hazardous to Your Marriage

Social media can help you keep in touch with loved ones near and far, but it can also damage your closest relationships.  Like your marriage.
     According to research commissioned by family law specialists, social media is so hazardous to relationships that one in seven married people said he or she would consider divorce based on a spouse’s behavior on sites such as Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.  Nearly one in four couples said they argue at least once a week over social media, and 17 percent reported fighting every day because of it.
     Plenty of folks who don’t quarrel over social media use are still suspicious about it:  Nearly 50 percent of the people surveyed admitted they secretly check their spouse’s Facebook account, and 14 percent said they were specifically looking for evidence of marital infidelity.
     An earlier survey of U.S. divorce lawyers found much the same thing, with 81 percent reporting that social media played an increasing role in their divorce cases.
                                                          From Focus on the Family’s ‘Thriving Family’ magazine
                                                                             Family media BITS & BYTES – Oct/Nov 2015

These statistics are alarming – but not too surprising.  All you have to do is go to a restaurant and notice the few people at tables actually talking to each other.  I’m always amazed at the number of people glued to their cellphones – not talking on them but messaging, tweeting, and texting while a real human being sits across from them, available for live conversation.  Though the millennials are the worst for constant phone attachment, I still see plenty of baby boomers who have gotten sucked into this alarming “fad that is not going away.”  It’s gotten so bad that people become panicked and frazzled when they misplace their cellphone for a minute.  Electronic devices have become the adult pacifier that keeps people from talking while lulling them into a dangerous place of complacency that is killing relationships.

I haven’t even begun to talk about Ipads and computers and video games.  They have become a huge bone of contention between many couples (look at the statistics above.)  What has happened to our society?  Someone posted a picture on Facebook of people walking around in a big city, all glued to their cellphones.  The caption read, “The Zombie Apocalypse”.   There’s a lot of truth to that.  My granddaughter was visiting over the summer and went to play outside with some friends.   She came back in thirty minutes, and I asked her why she was home so soon.  She said they all had Ipads and were playing on them.  She felt excluded because she didn’t have one.  She is nine years old.

Do you realize that while you are on your cellphone you might miss your baby’s first steps…your child’s first baseball hit…your husbands rare move to romance you…the moment before dinner boiled over the pot onto the stove…the most amazing day your child had…your toddler saying “I love you” for the first time…your grandfather’s last breath…just to name a very few.

I’m beginning to resent the constant intrusion of my cellphone.  Back in the day, the telephone was reserved for your time at home.  We could walk away from it with no guilt.  We didn’t sit around and watch for it to ring or keep it glued to our side.  We spent our time concentrating on getting together with our friends to talk with them in person.  Oh yes, we would occasionally chat for hours with our girlfriends on the phone – but that was actual talking.  People don’t even do that so much these days. 

We need physical, live human contact to survive - not just a message on a screen. You may think you want to go live up in the mountains away from civilization, but how many people actually do it? Not many because we are programmed to need human contact. (Thanks Hal Hester!)

I realized one morning, that I had conversed with four different people in 30 minutes via text messages, scheduled my plans for the next week and shopped for jeans, a pair of slippers and some of my favorite organic foods without ever talking to a human being.  Is that what our future looks like?  Will we all wind up permanently glued to a screen with no human interaction except via reading a message?  No wonder marriage is in great trouble.  No wonder our society is in grave danger.


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