Is Social Media Damaging to Personal Relationships?


McKenna Tessandori, Opinions Editor

  As the average time spent on social media continues to steadily increase, it has become evident that social media can be damaging to personal relationships. It seems evident that the more time people spend on social media, the greater the negative impact it will have on their relationships.   In today’s society, people are constantly on their phones switching between Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Almost everyone has at least one social media account. 

  According to BBC Future, a global news company, “Three billion people, around 40% of the world’s population, use online social media — and we’re spending an average of two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting, and updating on these platforms, according to some reports. That breaks down to around half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every minute.”  

  Two hours a day is the average time people spend on their phones, that’s 14 hours a week. This can lead to a decline in personal relationships because people are no longer interacting with their friends and family. Rather than engaging in an actual conversation with them, they sit and scroll through social media out of what researchers refer to as FOMO. According to a study conducted by Brigham Young University graduate student Spencer Christensen, “Fear of missing out (FOMO) is the psychological mentality that individuals might be missing out on a social opportunity or situation. This mentality requires that they stay constantly connected with others and updated about what their friends are doing.” 

  People’s fear of missing out on what other’s post on social media often results in missed opportunities of doing fun activities with family and friends. I conducted a poll on Instagram asking CSU Bakersfield students if they thought that social media was damaging to personal relationships and 59% said yes while 41% said no. One could argue that it’s not social media that is damaging to relationships, it’s people. 

  Although social media wasn’t intended to harm personal relationships, its overuse has led to a lack of social skills, mistrust, a decline in mental health, and an inability to live in the moment.   The more time people spend in front of a screen, the greater their chance of experiencing anxiety, depression, and a lack of social interaction. According to a Danish study conducted by the Happiness Research Institute, their 1,095 participants showed greater life satisfaction when they went a week without Facebook. It is vital to both your mental health and your personal relationships to limit the amount of time you spend on social media.  

  Although social media is easily accessible, it can have a negative effect and not only personal and romantic relationships but also on your mental health and overall well-being. I challenge you to keep track of how much time you spend on social media during the day. When you get your daily average at the end of the week, work on spending less time on social media the following week and be conscious of putting your phone away when spending time with friends and family.   Not only will you improve your relationships, but you will find that you are happier when you spend less time worrying about what other people are doing with their lives and focus on your own.