Socail Media Effects On Romantic Relationships - University Of South Alabama, Fundimentals Of Communication Research - Reseach Paper

1815 words - 8 pages

Social Media Effects on romantic relationships
The use of social media has become one of the largest data platforms across the world. Social media can be used in so many ways including negative and positive. It has been proven to help create as well as flourish established relationships such as, online dating, couples counseling via facetime and many more attributes. Some negative and positive examples include: online dating, spousal jealousy, solidarity, transparency, cheating etc. In this paper, the role that social media plays on romantic relationships is investigated. This study is hypothesized that social media can have negative and positive impacts on romantic relationships. The following literature reviews have attempted to demonstrate and support this hypothesis.
Cizmeci, E. states the use of a mobile device can sum up to be a good thing. When trying to maintain a relationship with your significant other, communication is always key. A mobile phone can help to provide the assurance that couples desire to communicate throughout their day. Three main attributes that Cizmeci E. lists as behavioral attachments are (1) accessibility, (2) responsiveness and (3) engagement. (Cizmeci E. 2017) (p.1401)Having a cellular phone can be positive depending on how it is used. Some research has shown how smartphones have helped couples to connect via facetime, texting, and frequent calling to the significant other. Cizmeci E. (2017) states that ‘’college-aged youth are more devoted mobile phone users then the average adult.’’
These smart phones can be so addictive that research showed college youth to check their phones more than one hundred times a day. (Cizmeci E 2017) (p.1402) Many youths tend to feel empty if they do not have their personal cell phones accessible to them! This in return can make a difference in a romantic relationship. One’s significant other might feel as if they are being cheated on because their partner is not answering the phone; but in actuality the phone could be lost or dead.
Ruse, H.M and Tiemensma discuss the issues as well as benefits that social media can play in a relationship. This topic was studied based on existing research and studies that have been evaluated to show the results and benefits of social media usage
    Millions of individuals are joining Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram daily. Usually social media is used to connect with friends around the world, as well as just keep in touch. In many instances, it is also used to create, maintain, or give the world an idea about your personal romantic relationships. Rus, H.M & Tiemensea (2017) state that ‘’given the global popularity of social media, it can apply to many demographic variables in terms of race, gender, and even social status.’’ (p.686)
    Social media sites can provide a frame for future relationships. In the social media world you can provide your career status, daily life values, religious beliefs and more. This can very well be eye catching for an individual which can then set up a future relationship. Following a trend (Rus, H.M, Tiemensea) found that 35 % of all couples married in between 2005 and 2012 initiated their relationship online. (Rus. H.M. Tiemensea 2017)(p.685)
    This is one of the positives that social media can have on a relationship. The start of one can sometimes be the best part. (Rus, H.M, Tiemensea 2017) incorporated studies and surveys that displayed women can also become jealous of their significant others on social media. One survey was taken by 60% of women, ages ranging between 18-23 years of age. This cross sectional survey was taken to show if Facebook activity and gender predict Facebook jealously. (p.685) Measures that were taken to test this survey include: number of daily logins and time spent on the site of an average day. The findings from this study show that females are more prone to Facebook jealously. Males are more likely to accurately predict females Facebook jealously. (Rus, H.M Timensea 2017).
    Along with this survey a landmark study that was conducted found that general Facebook use predicted romantic jealousy. Since then, research has evolved in considering the complex associations between SNS use, individual differences, and romantic relationship constructs such as attachment style, satisfaction, commitment, partner identity overlap, relationship maintenance strategies, and infidelity.
    It is applicable to say that Russ, H.M and Tiemensma demonstrate how social media can be negative as well as positive on romantic relationships. This will aid in helping individuals to understand how social media can really have effects on a relationship.
John Storey and Katy Mcdonald state that they conducted a study called ‘’media Love”. (p.1) This study was conducted from questionaries’ as well as interviews. What John and Katy were trying to prove is that cellular phones can really make love more romantic. First, John and Katy speak on love and romance. Media, such as television and movies can tend to have an influence on society as to how a relationship is really supposed to work. John states that the interviewee’s feel as if relationships are portrayed to be perfect with no negative encounters whatsoever. (p.116) Another interviewee states that ‘’ ‘You see in the movies all the time guys are like – got these banners “I love you” and send them roses and all and I just wouldn’t do that, that’s just not me like. (John, Kathy 2014) (p.116) Social media can paint a picture as to how love is ‘’supposed’’ to be but, every love story and the way individuals show love towards their significant others are totally different. Sexual intimacy plays an enormous part in a relationship and social media can influence when sex is supposed to acted upon in relationships. Movies, television series and other forms of media demonstrate on how many couples wait before acting upon sexual intercourse while others engage in sex as soon as they are introduced to each other. Media has a way of making couples feel ‘’peer pressured’’ as if they are right or wrong about the decisions that are decided within the relationship.
Are their different forms of media that can affect relationships other then social media? Spencer, Lamberton, Hubler and Burr state that video games can lead to increased relational conflicts as well as lower relationship satisfaction. (pg 81). As a girlfriend, I have experienced firsthand being ignored by my significant other who was playing the video game. Social media, or just media in general can be a distraction in a relationship but it can also bring two people together. Texting, facetiming, and playing video games can all lead to relationship bonding. This in return can have a positive as well as fun impact for relationships. A research study was conducted by asking a sample of participants how their partners social media affected them. Many of the women stated, “I feel ignored by my partner when he/she is spending time using media,” and “I feel that my partner spends time using media when he/she should be spending time with me and/or the family.” (spencer, Lumberton, hubler, burr. 2014)(p.83). This drew the conclusion that the use of social media does have a withdraw effect in relationships.
One of the most amazing things about relationships is the ability to become one. Becoming one means that couples began to share everything including social media. Gomillion, Gabriel, kawkami, and young state that sharing social media ‘’positively contributes to relationship satisfaction and stability.’’ (p.857) Most couples like to feel as if there is nothing to hide from each other. When sharing social media, it provides a link of trust that can fill any doubts your partner may have. Gomollion, Gabriel, Kawkami, and Young state that ‘’prospective data indicate that newly married couples who share a greater number of social connections report greater relationship quality a year later.’’ (p. 861) This helps couples feel closer signifying social media can have a positive impact on relationships. Social media allows you to take a good look outside of your relationship at someone else’s.
Andrew M. Ledbetter focuses his study towards relationships and television. This study included college students as well as adults. Does television bring couples closer? If so how? Ledbetter conducted a study that included 202 participants. In this study Ledbetter calculated the time spent watching television, measure of overall television viewing, and the number of hours watched per week. (Ledbetter 2017) Watching television is a huge activity among college aged youth. There is a famous saying that says ‘’Netflex and Chill’’ This is what many college kids prefer to do with their significant other. Cuddling up to a nice movie and relaxing has become an immensely popular trend. Ledbetter’s research shows that shared tv viewing did indeed draw couples closer.
Jesse Fox, and Robert S. Tokunaga, demonstrate on how social media can make a breakup ten times harder. Separating from your significant other as we all know can be hard. Social media presents temptation and can make it difficult for you to fully separate from your partner. (Fox & Tokunaga 2015) conducted an online survey of recently broken up couples who tend to stalk their ex’s social media pages. Jesse Fox and Roberts Results indicate that social media induces anxiety and causes personal social media stalking as well as stalking your counter partners new relationship. (p. 5) Breakups can be taxing particularly for the partner who did not initiate the breakup. Social media gives you countless numbers of options to monitor your ex-partner. This turning out to be a negative impact that can halt an individual from moving forward with their life.
College is presented as being some of the best years of a young adult’s life. During college you experience relationships, crushes, breakup up’s and many other experiences. At This developmental stage college students discover feelings of being unsure, jealous, and insecure. Renee S. Sherrell and Glenn W. Lambie performed a research study that asked two questions. What are undergraduate college students’ lived experiences with Facebook? and (b) How do undergraduate college students make meaning of their lived experiences with Facebook during the development of their romantic relationships while in college? (Sherrell, Lambie 2016) (p.139) Sherrell and Lambie did this by conducting interviews and focus groups. The interviews were conducted by asking random spontaneous questions. The focus groups were held to gain multiple perspectives from each topic. (p.142) From these studies Sherrell and Lambie’s findings conclude to support that Facebook does indeed help establish and fluctuate romantic relationships. (p.151)
This study is an observation research project that studies the negative and positive effects that social media can bring to a relationship. In order to properly evaluate and properly answer the research question as well as the hypothesis it is necessary to make observations of real life couples as well as conduct surveys to get real life opinions. To conduct this study, I chose to observe two couples on and off social media. To determine what specific actions/post makes the couples react.

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