Social media can be a convenient and engaging way to keep in touch with family and friends. However, many studies have shown it often affects marriages negatively. One study concludes that married couples who don’t use social media are happier than those who do.
Another study by Loyola University Health System found that one out of every five U.S. divorces cites Facebook as a contributing factor. Sharing thoughts online has become second nature to many of us. But posting negative content about your soon-to-be-ex can jeopardize your future well-being.
Five tips to ward off a social media nightmare
You should assume anything you post online can be used against you in Pennsylvania family court. Direct messages – which you might believe are private – can find their way before a judge. Even if anger against a spouse is justified, venting on a public forum can be harmful. Here are five considerations for divorce and social media:
- The best policy is to stop using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Focus on caring for your children, yourself and other interests. Think about the future instead of dwelling on the past.
- If you keep using social media, don’t post anything related to your divorce, your spouse or other family members. If you must post something, keep it positive but don’t talk about a new love interest or brag about a high-ticket purchase, such as a car.
- Change your privacy settings to the highest level and change all your passwords. Block or unfriend those you will not keep in touch with after the divorce and ask your friends not to tag you in any photos or posts.
- If you don’t already, monitor your kids’ social media usage as children are especially vulnerable during divorce and may share details you don’t want to be made public. Online bullies and predators may also target kids.
- Don’t try to dig up dirt about your spouse online. Asking friends to spy or provide negative information will likely only lead to trouble for you.
Resist the urge to retaliate
Social media posts often reflect an individual’s actual personality. If your spouse makes mean-spirited comments about you or your marriage, don’t try to get back at them by responding in kind – even if what they are saying is false. Instead of firing back online, bring their behavior to the attention of your attorney. Your long-term interests can be best served by staying above the fray.