SHUT IT DOWN.
Social media is supposed to keep us all connected, and it does, for better or worse.
While some folks in tech like to paint the picture of a world united by faster internet speeds, the truth is more complicated.
Sure, social media makes it easier for us to keep in touch with our friends and family all over the world, and that's awesome (provided they do stuff on Facebook other than post photos of their latest marathon win or another shot of their baby's butt).
Yes, people who have a tendency to cheat are much more likely to start cheating and keep cheating if they are fans of social media.
Benjamin Karney is a professor of social psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles. He's spent the bulk of his career studying romantic relationships and marriages. He thinks that access to social media has made cheating easier than ever before.
“For people who are morally willing to and motivated to, social media offers an unprecedented opportunity to engage in unfaithful behavior," he says. "You don’t even have to find somebody who is in your neighborhood. You can flirt and exchange sexual communication with anyone who is willing to do it on Planet Earth who is holding a smartphone.”
There's not one definitive study (yet) about the effects of say, Facebook or Twitter and cheating, but I don't think it's a stretch to acknowledge how social media has had a negative impact on our relationships.
We go on a date with someone, it goes well, and what do we do? We're all over their digital footprint, stalking Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else we can find to try and unlock every single detail about the person we might start a relationship with — whether they would want us to do this digging or not.
Just because social media provides you with more opportunities to cheat, that doesn't mean it makes it any easier, either. Leave a browser window open, forget to log out of your email and your cheating ways will be revealed.
Social media has just given us new ways to hurt each other, be it in short term or the long term.
Marriage counselor Mikki Meyer agrees. “Social media has added tremendous pressure in relationships. Friendships are judged by the actions which are displayed on the internet, and information allows strangers to impose their views about what might be going on. No one really knows what happens behind closed doors, and information is often skewed depending upon the source or their perception and judgment.”
So while your boyfriend's new cute Facebook friend from work might just be a new friend, she could also be the woman he's cheating on you with. This has always been true, but now social media has put the thought in BOTH of your minds in a way it never would have before.
In other words, let us burn the internet to the ground. I will get the torch.