The impact of social media on your family

by febfast 22 Aug 2014

Does your family communicate more online than in person? You are not alone. Recent developments in the technology sphere have made it even easier to communicate using social media rather than with face-to-face conversations.

Social media is defined as Websites and online forms of communication used to share information. Often this data could be about where someone is or even what they had for breakfast!

This has resulted in a shift in dynamics since the latest generation of kids and teens have grown up with technology and are known as "digital natives". Their lives revolve around social media. You may have noticed them interrupting conversations in order to check their notifications or focusing on their social media following rather than on what is happening in front of them.

It is important that not only children and teens but adults take a break from social media to connect with their families. Being connected all the time has its own risks, including "Facebook depression", cyber bullying and a lack of privacy.

Why not take a break from social media through a 28 day FebFast Social Media program? Put those phones down and see what your family can learn from each other. Speaking face-to-face can increase the chance of understanding body language, voice inflection and eye contact. These important parts of conversation cannot be accurately conveyed through text, and it is possible for emotions to be missing from online conversations.

Research suggests there are plenty of other benefits of spending time together as a family without distractions.

In fact, a study by the US University of Rochester Medical Center published in the journal Pediatrics noted that families who sat down to dinner together can help ward off childhood obesity.

Another study by McGill University indicates regular family mealtimes can benefit the mental well-being of adolescents, even if young people do not feel they can easily talk to their parents. Family interactions can help children learn how to internalise and externalise problems, express concerns and feel valued as part of the family unit.