Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Social Media and the Family … striking a balance

As society continuously gets swamped with addiction to social media, families are struggling to cope.

A research done by Smartsights fount that, for the year 2020, instagram has over 1 billion users active on a monthly basis, Facebook has 2.5 billion monthly users, twitter has 152 million monetizable daily users, YouTube stands at 2 billion users every month.

Tiktok on the other hand, was recorded to be the most installed app ending the year 2019 and to date it has 800 million monthly active users. 

The study by Smart Insights found that, in a minute, people publish 3.3 million Facebook posts, 448,800 tweets, 65,972 Instagram photos, and 500 hours of YouTube video.

According to a study by Mediakix, since July 2020, “social media users are now spending an average of two hours and 24 minutes per day multinetworking across an average of 8 social networks and messaging apps”.

It continues to highlight that the time people spend on social media each day is more than they do on eating, drinking and socializing combined.

Given the addiction to shuttling across the various social media networks, posting, liking and sharing, it therefore comes as a little surprise that the family unit has come under a strain.

When Corona virus took over humanity along with our freedom, one positive thing came with it. It helped us spend more time with our loved ones due to restrictions, lockdowns and of course curfews.

Unfortunately, given the modern society’s connectivity to the global society due to social media, families found themselves having ‘to compete with the distant but ever present social media families’ for attention.

For some families however, the addiction to mobile phones and social media has not been all doom and gloom. In fact, they took advantage of the social media to find innovative ways to spend time with their loved ones.

One such is the Maplanka family. During lock down, the Maplankas thrilled social media with some fancy family danceoffs and games.

“Tiktok was magical in ensuring that we play together as a family. Of course we had many games which we played during lockdown,” Ntebo Maplanka reminisces.

“So when my youngest daughter, Aleyo, suggested that we do Tiktok dances, we found ourselves agreeing to it,”she says.

As with many families, Aleyo’s seemingly outlandish idea seems not to have been favourably welcome, more especially with the family’s social media loving teenage daughter.

“My first born daughter, Anele caught onto the flame once she saw daddy n I dancing to Tiktok moves with her sister,” she recalls.

For the Maplanka family, instead of letting social media tear them apart, they found ways to use it to strengthen their ties.

“So yeah it did bring us together, in the sense that we did stuff we had never done before, together as a family, such as shooting a video on dance moves,” says Maplanka.

“It was extremely interesting and we found ourselves looking forward to doing Tiktokd together,” she says.

This was however by no chance as smooth a sailing. There were times when they found themselves ‘victims of the social media craze.’

“There were instances where social media was not good for us as family, more especially where each one of us would be engrossed in WhatsApp or Facebook engagement.”

“These times stole family moments, in that, each one would be lost in their conversations with whoever and all attention gone to that place. So yeah there were the good and the uncomfortable moments,” Maplanka says.

She then recalls; “My first born who is a teen would want to be on the phone with her friends, in her bedroom. The youngest, would be playing robux and wouldn’t want to be disturbed.”

Where other families struggled to keep up with social media, for the Maplankas, “the Tiktok dances really brought the balance we needed as a family,” Maplanka says.


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