It is evident that the internet along with social media is shrinking the distance between people around the globe. However, it is also evident that the connection is becoming more virtual than physical and emotional. Which means the internet and social media have a negative effect not only on society but family relationships too.
While scrolling up and down my Facebook feed I happened to watch a video. There were four family members in the video having a meal on the huge dining table. I am not sure but the four members might include father, mother, daughter and son according to their age and the order they were sitting on the dining table.
The father was leaning down to see under the table again and again. As soon as the father would lean down to see under the table the three members of the family would start using their cell phones. They put their cellphones back on the table as soon as the father would adjust himself on the chair again and resume his eating. This was repeated for four to five times.
The video got funnier when the reason for father leaning down to see under the table was revealed. He was doing so because he was unable to distance himself from using his cell phone and he planned to use it under the table with the trick.
I also laughed when I saw the video because the video was shared for entertainment purpose. The video had background laughter voice too.
However, leave the entertainment purpose aside. The video clearly shows how possessive we have become with our cell phones to use the internet and social media.
We are so possessive of social media and internet that we unintentionally surf the social media and the internet. It seems like we are drunk and do not know what we are doing. We just watch YouTube videos one after another. We spend hours surfing social media without any reason.
We use it while talking to people. Sitting in the family discussion, meetings. While having a meal at home or with friends. This really has a detrimental effect on us.
The research has some shocking revelation on the negative effect of the internet and social media.
Daria Kuss in 2011 was the first to systematically review the scientific literature on excessive social media use. Despite the lack of studies on the topic, her study found that there is a significant detrimental effect on many aspects of human life who use it excessively. Including real-life relationships and academic achievement among those still in education.
“Because social media is most frequently accessed through smartphones, their usage is intimately intertwined and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO),” says the study.
Although, cellphone, internet and social media together make our lives and family relationship worse, but there is one thing which is a root cause of all the negative effects, i.e the internet.
We can not deny the fact that the internet has many pros and has improved our lives. However, if we take a medicine when we are not having any disease then it will cause trouble.
Similarly, if we use the internet when we are not in need then we will be in trouble. Our family relationship can be destroyed as the study shows above.
Focusing on the root cause i.e. “the internet” to save our family relationship we have to abandon the use of the internet at home. We do not need the internet at home. We need compassion and emotions at home to tighten the bond in the family.
Here are some tips that we can follow to abandon the internet at home.
Since we can not totally abandon the internet because we have lots of work to do with it. However, we can absolutely abandon it while we are having a meal. Keep your cell phone away from the dining table. Talk to each other instead of using the cellphone. Share your feelings and your day. It helps you to reduce stress as well as strengthen the family bond.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) would feed his spouse with his hand. But, now we use our cellphones while eating food without appreciating the food and the person who cooked it.
Remove the Wi-Fi connection
Today almost everyone has a smartphone that supports either 4G or 3G. Which is without doubt sufficient to spend some time on the internet and social media if you are a working person or school going. Remove the Wi-Fi connection from your home.
You might get shocked or laugh at me if I say that It is been four months that I am not using my home Wi-Fi. I have asked my Wi-Fi service provider to discontinue my plan. Because I do not need it at all as I have 4G in my cell phone that helps me to research or spend some time on social media when I am home. It saves my money and of course, gives more time to spend quality time with family.
Aisha, the wife of the Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him), was asked, “What did the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) use to do in his house?” She replied, “He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was the time for prayer he would go for it.” [Bukhari]
We can also assist our families at home for a better family bond.
No office work at home
Bringing work home and spending the rest of the after-office-hours working is one of the biggest reasons for your broken or weak relationship at home. Avoid doing it. However, if in case you have to do then fix a time and duration for it. Do it in your fixed time and let it rest for the next day in office.
This will help you to not use the internet at home and save you from weakening the family relationships.
Spend some time with family without the internet
Make it a ritual to spend at least 30 minutes with your family members but without internet and cellphone. Help your younger brother to understand his subject. Help your mother in the kitchen. Play with children at home. Have a happy talk with your father.
As above hadith (teachings of Prophet Muhammad) Prophet Muhammad used to assist in household work.
Stop Watching YouTube videos
There are many YouTubers who are creating funny videos and uploading on the YouTube. They have a large audience and their videos are watched in millions. Do you know they are being paid by YouTube through advertisements and destroying your life?
You watch such videos one after another without realising that your family is fed up with you. Your job is on a stake. Your scores in education are going down. Stop watching it. Instead, watch informative videos or save your internet data by not using YouTube unnecessarily.
Use some of the above tricks to abandon the internet at home and save your family relationships from the negative effect of social media and the internet.