Social media’s growth in popularity and technological sophistication has provided everyone a platform to express their opinions and talk about their lives. However, when life-changing issues arise, some things are better left un-typed and un-posted, particularly during the process of divorce. The potential blowback from hitting “send” can result in personal and potentially legal consequences.
Facebook is a dominant platform with billions of users and significant influence in pop culture and politics. The platform is also mentioned in 20 percent of divorce actions as a cause for a marriage ending.
Minimizing or ending social media use as an option
Negative comments can result in hurt feelings, ongoing resentment, or outright retaliation. Staying positive and avoiding negativity is the best course of action to keep the peace in the virtual world and the real one. For those who impulsively “tweet” or “snap,” staying off the world wide web can make a significant difference in future relationships with not only soon-to-be ex-spouses but also their own children.
Countless studies already reveal the negative impact of social media on marriages, whether one spouse posts negative information about the other or scouring the web for evidence of bad behavior. Computers in Human Behavior found that couples who do not use social media are 11 percent happier in their marriages. Conversely, those obsessed with online activity are not only less happy but also neglect their marriages.
Steps to take when staying online
Adjusting privacy settings to the highest possible level helps minimize potential rancor. Asking friends not to tag you in photos or posts can help reduce your “footprint.” Blocking people who will not be in your lives after divorce helps as well. And say goodbye to your “relationship status” until the marital dissolution is final.
Divorcing couples with children must keep a close eye on their social media use. Know the platforms they use and request that you see their posts to know what they’re saying. Uncertain times make kids vulnerable, requiring less privacy for the time being.
While unplugging from the online world is the best approach, for many, ending their social media experience is not an option. In those situations, two phrases apply. “The less said, the better” and “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”