Relationship Problems: Social Media & Relationship Surveillance

February 25, 2015 by

Remember the days when spying on your ex required a private investigator, a good old-fashioned stakeout, and maybe one or two well-placed traps? Well, those days are behind us.

Now, all it takes to track somebody is an Internet connection and a social media account. Even young children know how to use the Internet to look up personal information about somebody. And the main culprit doling out information? Social media sites.

When Social Media Sites Know Too Much

Social media sites serve a great number of uses, but a major one—unfortunately—is surveillance. Many men and women in relationships admit to using sites like Facebook to keep an eye on their current and former partners.

Even though this behavior can cause a significant amount of stress for individuals and couples, it’s sometimes hard to avoid. The ease of social media sites, and the fact that they are so ubiquitous in everyday life, make it almost too easy for people to use these sites to track their partners.

There are a number of additional reasons why sites like these are so prone to relationship surveillance.

  1. They’re public. Even if you have made your profile as private as possible by cranking up the security features, determined partners (or exes) can almost always find a way to track you on Facebook or Twitter. Mutual friends may post updates that include you, or they may be able to find you through a site that you had forgotten all about.

    For instance, maybe you have blocked your Facebook and Twitter pages but you left LinkedIn public. There are just too many ways for your information to get out, and most of them are public enough that they can be seen by anyone with a little Internet know-how.

  2. They’re backlogged. Social media never forgets. Did you know that the Library of Congress saves every single tweet ever tweeted? Once something is put online, it stays there, even if you think all traces of it have been deleted. This means that almost anything can be drudged up from the past, which is excellent fodder for relationship problems.
  3. They encourage participation. The whole idea of social media sites is to promote constant updates from all those who use them. They ask people to check in constantly, and users are all too happy to oblige by posting status updates, pictures, videos, and web links. All of those posts create a treasure trove of information for any determined snooper.

Social media sites have done wonders for communication in the modern age. Unfortunately, they have made themselves into the perfect platforms for relationship surveillance. This may be nothing to worry about for some couples, but it can be outright disastrous for others.

The good news is that many relationship problems—even those that stem from Facebook—can usually be worked through with the right tools. If you feel that social media surveillance is creating troubles for you and your partner, contact a qualified marriage counselor today.