The premise of this scoop.it feed is to investigate the ways in which social media affects Family. In this scoop.it, the Family unit is not exclusive to the relationship between parents and children (immediate), but it also encompasses the relationship between grandparents and extended family abroad.
|Scooped by Marlin Gutierrez|
Reflection: How does social media affect Family?
How does social media affect families? Far too often we make presumptions about how social media is a detriment to the family unit. Let's be honest, social media has its benefits and can improve relationships abundantly. However, in terms of the family unit, we tend to think that the more time spent [not talking to each other] can only negatively impact any sort of relationship that exists. After researching my question online, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my first assumption was not only wrong, but there was a growing trend in which families are using social media to enhance their relationships.
NY Times published an article that concluded that Facebook can indeed complicate already estranged relationships. How's that so? Well, researchers found that people who are already estranged from family members (whatever the reason) often feel more estranged when intimate stories or photographs of their estranged families are shared online without their involvement. For example, one interviewer recounted feeling hurt when she could not share the experiences of her grandchildren in the physical and was reduced to viewing photographs of them on Facebook, while other people were experiencing moments with the family she was cut off from (by her daughter). In this instance, social media can create a sense of resentment for families.
According to the Technorati article, forty-four percent of adults who travel are accompanied by their children or grandchildren, respectively (Technorati). Consequently they are more inclined to find family-centered destinations where the entire family can go and enjoy. Parents are utilizing their access to travel destinations via social media networking in order to find the best family travel deals and destinations. They are relying on the assistance and feedback from other family’s experiences to make decisions regarding their own family travel plans. Social media allows them the ability to share experiences with people all over the world.
Social media also allows families who have military spouses or loved ones who are stationed across the world to remain in contact through sites like Facebook and Skype. Often soldiers can share intimate moments with their spouses or children through video share or through Facebook uploads. However, according to the USA Today article, social media technology only acts as a magnifying glass to family situations. Suffice it to say, if you are already experiencing disconnect in your family unit, social media will likely not improve those bonds for military families. In contrast, if your family unit is strong without the use of social media, then you will likely experience a improvement due to social media (USA Today).
The elder generation has surprisingly benefited more from social media then one could expect. They are investing time in their retirement age –learning the internet and putting that knowledge to good use. According to the AARP article, the retired community is relying heavily on the use of Facebook to share family photographs or connect with friends who they haven’t seen in years. Senior citizens are also using social media applications like SKYPE to connect with their families around the world-- specifically their growing grandchildren. Having this technology has improved the family unit by keeping the elder generation in the forefront.
The final two sources included in this project focused on the relationship between children and parents in the era of social media. For example, one article details the ways in which families use social media sites like Facebook to create an online support system for their ailing children. Facebook allows them to share their tragedies and experiences with people across the world. In return they receive an abundance of prayers, support and even sympathy cards from strangers. These strangers provide a sense of strength for families. They are able to do all of this via the use of social media. Social media allows them to keep their family members, in foreign places, abreast with the happenings of their beloved ones. Therefore, it is working to improve familial relationships.
Finally, the article written by the pediatric doctors suggests that social media can indeed lead to a path of cyber bullying and “Facebook depression” if parents allow it. It is the responsibility of the parents to remain informed about the social media sites that their children are using and create an online relationship with them that can carry offline as well. A great suggestion was the “family-online use plan” which encourages parents to set parameters for online usage with their children. Under the terms of a family-online use plan, children are responsible for attending weekly family meetings and open their social media sites for monitoring by their parents.