Lately I have watched as members of my family have become antagonistic towards each other and I have wondered why this is the case. I have read comments from other people on this blog throughout the years as they mention their families competing, bragging, asserting their views, fighting and arguing on Facebook and I can not help but wonder if the site that was supposed to make the world a "more connected place" is actually causing more strife between family members. Is Facebook causing families and friends to actually dislike each other instead of brining people close together? I strongly believe so.
There are many ways in which Facebook is detrimental for a person. Recently I wrote that there are ways in which Facebook makes people feel miserable. When people feel miserable they oftentimes lash out on others. They look for a fight, so to speak. When people are posting about how wonderful their life is on the internet and others are feeling bad about their own life, jealousy will emerge. When people are enraged about current events or things out of their own control, they will fight over political ideas. When people feel that they are not accepted by another, they lash out. In short, families become entwined in the kind of fighting that did not really exist in the same public and easily accessible way before the internet.
Don't get me wrong, families have always fought. I can remember during my youth seeing my parents and their siblings argue from time to time. Yet, the arguments did not continue online. And rarely were those arguments made manifest for a hundred or more people to see and take sides on.
I look at my family now and see a broken and fragmented family full of people who have "taken sides" on issues as the fight unfolds on Facebook, or as I have begun calling it as of late, "Favebook." I have seen one of my wife's siblings pretty much disown her sister's husband because of his views on Obama. I have seen people become angry if others do not agree with their political or religious views, removing them from their friends list. Others state that they should be able to state what they want on their wall and nobody should be able to question what is said. Does this not sound like tyranny to you? Of course fights are going to emerge when these things happen.
Recently one of my family members was bated with a political post, and once he commented, a huge fight erupted. A couple of days after loads of comments from various people who both knew him and some who have never met him, he was unfriended and paraded as a jerk for the rest of the family to see. It is sad to see such a pointless argument turn into a family feud just because someone does not agree with one's self-important political views.
Thanksgiving is coming upon the United States very soon and I look at my family and see that many are having it separately this year. In years past, the family would come together for a day when differences were set aside and where people gave thanks for the things that they have in life. Now, I see that differences are not set aside, they are left right there for everyone on Facebook to see. Now the topic becomes what was said and done on Facebook. There is a reminder of how much one does not like another family member right when that other person checks their Facebook page. And they check it quite often.
Do you really expect that Facebook is good for families and relationships when:
1. People are obsessed with their own political views and are used to arguing with anyone who disagrees?
2. People and family members are ultra competitive with each other and parade all their accomplishments in front of everyone else?
3. People compare how they raise their children?
4. People unfriend others when they do wrong and use Facebook as a weapon?
5. When "Favebook" becomes a way for people to exclude others from events and from their lives.
6. Where personal fights are made public and people start to take sides?
It is no secret that Facebook causes people to become angry with each other. It is to be expected that the anger will eventually seep into our closest relationships. When a person gets done telling "a liberal" or "a conservative" how stupid their views are and then notices that their brother has the same views, there is no doubt that there may be family arguments. Furthermore, what is said can be seen years later as posts do not disappear unless deleted. That means that the old feelings can re-emerge.
Many people are going to say "that does not sound like my family" or that "I am different. I can handle Facebook." Is that true? Are you just telling yourself that? Has your family really gotten along as well with Facebook? Has the constant barrage of political posts and angry news articles really brought you closer together as a family? Have the members of your family not become jealous when you were talking about that huge promotion at work while others were busy trying to fight the government for an unemployment check? Do you find yourself wondering if something that someone said on Facebook is really something passive aggressive and meant towards you? If not, congratulations.
Facebook is an addiction. People think that they have to be on it or that they are not a good person. I know some people who are not on Facebook and they are doing themselves a favor. Many hate the drama and do not want to be pulled into it. Others crave some type of peace in their lives. Facebook does not do much good for anyone, especially once the urge to "assert your all-important views" becomes too strong. And, when you tell the world that they can not disagree with your views, there is a problem. Do yourself a huge favor and remove it immediately. You do not need to be a part of a site that is destroying relationships and families daily.