I recently attended a wedding, led by the bride’s father (a pastor). But, it wasn’t the nuptials that caught my attention.
In the proceedings he mentioned Facebook–yes, Facebook–not just once, but on several occasions. It struck me a real testament to the growth of social media to hear Facebook mentioned in a traditional wedding service…but also as odd.
The bride’s father mentioned that one in five divorce cases cite the word “Facebook.” Later in the ceremony, the couple pledged to be faithful and not let any social media temptation interfere with their matrimony.
While it might sound outrageous, infidelity prompted by social networking can be a real fear. Facebook simplifies communication by providing easy ways to keep in touch with old and new friends, but this easy (and public) access to a large network of potential flings can definitely complicate relationships. In this article from CBN News, one marriage counselor sums the dilemma up nicely by saying a “fantasy figure is a lot harder to compete with than someone who is up to their eyes in bills and diapers.” Even sultry actress Eva Longoria cited that she divorced her husband Tony Parker due to infidelity with a woman he kept in contact with on–you guessed it!–Facebook.
As a social media specialist and an avid consumer of social media, I realize its great benefits. But, it’s also clear that sometimes being “too” social can cause real harm.
Just a few days ago, an Indianapolis woman allegedly stabbed her boyfriend with a kitchen knife after he would not allow her to view his Facebook page. This isn’t a solo case. In fact, there have been several cases citing Facebook as an precursor to violence: One man stabbed his wife to death over a Facebook posting that was “humiliating,” for example, and a Toledo woman beat a man with a frying pan and stabbed him in part due to a threatening Facebook post.
Additionally, there have been several cases of burglary resulting from status updates informing criminals that users were on vacation or away from their home. Cyberbullying, prevalent among teens online, was reported as happening more often on Facebook and social media sites rather than anywhere else on the Web.
Now, do I think that social media can actually be dangerous? I’d say it’s possible, and I’ve seen both its helpful and harmful effects firsthand. Users can avoid potential harm by following good judgment and moral reasoning–but never underestimate the power of social media.