Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System. Furthermore, 81 percent of the country’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). The problem is many couples don’t have any wise social media rules to protect them. The Internet can be a dangerous place. Scratch that…it is a dangerous place. However, we’re at a point in history where almost every vocation, task, and act of communication involves the Internet and some form of online communication.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, Pinterest… This is where online conversations are happening and you need to have a plan in place to protect your marriage in this new world. Danny Rohrdanz, who founded and ran a digital marketing agency for many years with a focus on social media strategy, compiled 10 marital principles for social media. Be above reproach and protect your marriage – here’s how:
1. Online accountability.
It is always a good idea to have some kind of website activity monitor installed on your computers, smartphone, and tablets. A program like Covenant Eyes is great for online accountability. You can install it on your computer and download the apps for your mobile devices. It tracks the websites you visit and sends a report to a person you designate as your online accountability partner.
2. Offline accountability.
Author and Pastor Matt Chandler says, “To be 99% known is to be unknown.” It’s true. That 1% could be your downfall. Ask your friends to hold you accountable for the way you use social networks and the Internet at large. Ask them to check in on you. Maybe one or two of them receive your reports from Covenant Eyes and help you stay safe on the Internet. It’s always safer to walk in accountability. We weren’t created to walk through this life in isolation.
3. Does she know your passwords?
Make sure that your wife has access to all of your online profiles. Let her know that she is free to log in at any time to see what’s going on. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be trusted. This means that transparency reigns in your relationship. Go ahead; give her access to your accounts. You’ll feel better.
4. Don’t over-share.
When using social media, make it a point to NOT share your entire life and ALL of your thoughts, hopes, dreams, passions, and convictions. Keep that for your wife! Many online emotional affairs start with someone pouring their heart out in a status update. Don’t entertain that thought. Keep it simple. Keep it light. Save the heavy stuff for the people closest to you. And don’t use social media to criticize your wife either.
5. Keep it public.
Things get dangerous when you start engaging in private messages. If you’re going to use Facebook or Twitter to communicate, try to keep it out in the open and not through Facebook Messages or Twitter Direct Messages. Especially when talking with someone of the opposite sex who isn’t your spouse! Set boundaries and stick to them.
6. Keep your shirt on!
You’ve seen them. The “iffy” pictures that your Facebook friends post and you think to yourself, Really? Is that necessary? Make a rule to only post pictures that are above reproach. No one wants a ticket to your ‘gun show.’ Trust me.
7. Make it NOT about you.
Choose to use social media to talk and post about the things closest to you. Talk about your wife, your kids, your job, etc. Try not to focus on yourself specifically. Social media is a breeding ground for narcissism. Guard against this.
8. Get your privacy settings in order.
Make sure your social network privacy settings are configured in a way that protects you and your family. This is an easy way to protect yourself and your family. If you only want your friends seeing your status updates, make the switch!
9. Be visible.
Make sure that your family computer is in a visible place. If you use a laptop, make a family rule that it can only be used in the living room or den.
10. Be prepared and have a plan in place.
You can control the way you use the Internet and specifically, social networks. However, we can’t control the way others use it. Make sure to have a Family Plan in place for when potential temptations come knocking on your door. Maybe it’s an old girlfriend, a co-worker, or just an acquaintance trying to contact you. Will you try to hide it from your wife and pretend like it never happened, or will you bring it out in the open and discuss how you as a family will respond together in unity?It’s always safer to walk in accountability. Click To Tweet
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your greatest weakness when it comes to the use of social media?”