Last week, a man killed his wife, upset that she was spending too much time on social media. Ironically, the two had met on Facebook. In his rage, he also killed their three-month-old son.
Social media activity is now triggering extreme violence, besides making and breaking relationships.
A majority of people consulting relationship counsellors now talk about the role of social media in disrupting their personal lives.
Ajanta De, co-founder, Innersight Counselling and Training Centre, describes Facebook as a new age addiction. “When a partner spends too much time on social media, the level of mistrust and rejection is high with the other partner. They feel disrespected because their loved ones are spending so much time online,” she says.
Trust problems can get compounded with social media addiction. But killing someone for spending too much time on Facebook indicates a psychological disorder, she says.
“Relationships today are becoming a lot more fragile,” she says. Most of Ajanta’s
clients are parents of adolescent children addicted to social media.
“If someone is telling you ‘you are always on social media’, don’t get defensive. It is a real issue. It is important to understand how much is too much. Set boundaries for yourself; self-regulation is the best way to do it,” she suggests. Sri, marketing professional, met his fiance on Facebook. “It all started as friends, after a few months of meeting, we fell in love,” he says.
He says patience and perseverance are important when a relationship develops online, he says.
“Don’t trust anyone blindly. Common sense plays an important role. It takes time to understand a person and in the virtual world that we are living in, it takes much more time than we can imagine,” says Sri.
Though the couple is set to tie the knot, it wasn’t always a smooth ride. Differences cropped up when they met offline. But, Sri says, they sorted out the challenges as individuals.
Akanksha Pandey, clinical psychologist, Fortis Hospital, agrees social media addiction is one of the most serious problems with couples and parents of young children.
About 80 per cent of people consulting tell her that social media is wreaking havoc on their relationships.
“It is important to be aware of how an individual is using social media and for what purpose. It is a distraction and can be a communication barrier,” she sums up.
Facebook make and break
S K Raju, a warehouse employee, met Sushma on Facebook two years ago. They married six months ago. Their child was born three months later. However, their relationship soured when Raju began to feel Sushma was spending too much time on social media addiction. He suspected her of having multiple affairs.
Raju planned a bike trip with her to Hassan on January 19 but after reaching Mysuru Road, he took a deviation inside the Hejjala forest near Kumbalagodu. He stopped at an isolated place and allegedly killed his wife and smothered their three-month-old baby.
Cope with social media obsession
- Identify your reason for using social media.
- Set a time limit for social media use.
- Communicate with your partner.
- Keep away from anything leading to addiction.