Internet and Social Media Technology in the Family Context

Our generation lives in the age of unprecedented technologic development. Today, devices of all kinds have become essential parts of human life and the internet has turned the most preferred means of communication. The majority of people these days own one of several devices that they frequently use to go online and maintain connection with other people all around the world. As the internet entered our everyday life, the way we communicate with our friends, coworkers and family changed significantly.

Online communication brought a whole new set of rules and behaviors to the human society. The internet made communication much easier and quicker, yet it also complicated some of the social processes and introduced us to many new impacts. Nowadays, many scholars are focused on researching the influences the internet makes on couple and family relationships, the changes it brings to the inner dynamics within these social groups, positive and negative impacts it creates.

It is a well known fact that the heavy use of the internet by children and adolescents is a serious issue for the modern families. The majority of parents are trying to create certain rules and limitations as to the use of the internet in order to protect their children from becoming victims of such negative aspects of the internet as online bullying and scamming, various affairs, sexual maniacs, pornography, depression, loneliness, suicide and substance abuse.

The internet is a great means for the children’s education, it has a variety of resources for learning and development such as online libraries, tests, projects and games designed to train various skills in children. As an unlimited source of information the internet can be truly helpful for the parents and teachers, yet the kinds of information contained there are different, so children are exposed to both positive and negative enforcements.

It is noticeable that many parents today are used to employing the internet as a babysitter for their children and adolescents. One example of such behavior can be commonly observed in public places such as shopping malls or restaurants, when as soon as a little child starts throwing a tantrum, a parent immediately reacts by distracting the child with a game on a tablet or smart phone. Simple games for small children serve a guarantee that the adults will be allowed to have at least an hour of quietness to discuss their own things, focus of work or simply relax.

This way since the early childhood, contemporary children become used to spending time on the net and constantly carrying their devices along. Parents create a double standard when they first develop the habit of using the internet and devices in their children and then, as children become older, try to limit the time they spend on the computers and monitor that activities they practice. Logically, children and adolescents become rebellious and start to invent various ways of tricking their parents and continuing the heavy and uncontrolled use of the internet, which may lead to many negative outcomes.

Besides, even though the internet initially was introduced as a way to help people stay connected with each other and make their communication easier and faster, in reality is tends to widen the distance between individuals and lead to the increasing social isolation. In homes where there is more than one computer and device that allows going online and browsing the internet family members tend to miss out on a lot of personal communication and spend more time being busy online.

Such homes are mostly quiet, personal conversations are minimized, group activities also happen very rarely. Moreover, even the co-usage of the internet is not a frequent happening. Online activities and communication through the internet is very important for both adults and children of nowadays. Yet, for children and adolescents being able to spend a significant time online is crucial due to the fact that the internet has grown to fulfill their social lives, hobbies, passions, entertainments, it is also an important factor shaping their social status and creating their connection with the peers.

Overuse of the internet can be dangerous, and the adults have to monitor it carefully. This creates conflicts and misunderstanding within the family because the children’s perception of the parental care and responsibilities varies from the one of their parents (Williams & Merten, 2011).

Couple relationships are also influenced immensely. For example, the internet brought new ethics and rules considering the change of status in the social networks, revealing personal information, dating online, viewing pornography, adding and deleting people from friend lists, and confidentiality of the online communication (Hertlein, 2012). All of these aspects can become reasons for a conflict in a couple. The internet also brings many benefits allowing singles to find each other through the net, maintain communication when one of the partners moves away. It can be said that today internet serves to ruin many relationships, but it also is a major facto of the creation and survival of many relationships.

Reference List

Hertlein, K. M. (2012). Digital Dwelling: Technology in Family and Couple Relationships. Family Relations 6(3), 374-387.

Williams, A. L. & Marten, M. J. (2011). iFamily: Internet and Social Media Technology in the Family Context. Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 40(2), 150-170.