Impact of Social Media on Parental Alienation – Parental alienation, which is classified as a form of emotional and psychological abuse, has long been a documented phenomenon. However, the ever-increasing prevalence of social media in our lives has made the damages of parental alienation much more far-reaching. When one parent makes unjust claims designed to turn their children against the alienated parent, they are now able to extend these claims far beyond the home and nuclear family.
Horizon Plymouth counsellors work with children and adults who have experienced the negative impacts of parental alienation every day and are dedicated to raising awareness of the phenomenon in order to decrease its incidence and prevalence. In this article, we will be discussing the impact of social media on parental alienation, and how it can further exacerbate the abuse and negative emotional effects experienced by all parties. If you are not familiar with the definition and effects of parental alienation, Horizon Plymouth has dedicated many articles to this topic on our blog.
How social media can impact parental alienation
Social media is actually a fairly common medium for parental alienation. The alienating parent might find it easier to turn others against the alienated parent by posting false accusations online rather than face-to-face slander. However, this can make the effects even more devastating for the children and affected parent, as now a widespread number of people in their lives will have been exposed to false information, tainting their beliefs and opinions of the targeted parent. This can be detrimentally isolating to the parent who is being unfairly accused, with no way to defend themselves.
However, as with most things in life, there is also a good side to social media when it comes to parental alienation. Being emotionally manipulated against their parent can be difficult and very confusing for a child, as often they try to sort out fact from fiction when it comes to the beliefs that have been fed to them. If the alienated parent maintains a public profile with positive content refraining from fighting back and arguing online with the other parent, it can be a safe place for children to learn about the alienated parent without the commitment of connecting with them in person just yet.
Signs of parental alienation through social media
As parental alienation occurs when one parent actively attempts to undercut the other parent and make their children despise the alienated parent without cause, posts to this effect might be a red flag that parental alienation is occurring between two separated parents. This might look like children actively posting resentful or angry attacks against the alienated parent, or the ex-spouse engaging in a pattern of false accusations and assaults against the other parent. Because emotions are often high following a divorce or separation, one or two posts might not be considered parental alienation, which is why it is important to notice if there is a pattern of posts or behaviour to back up claims of abuse.
Fortunately, if you are a family member who suspects that parental alienation is occurring, social media posts can help your cause should you need to have proof of the abuse in court. Parental alienation is difficult to definitively prove, so collecting evidence such as social media posts is one way to begin building your case. Additionally, because the negative mental effects of parental alienation for both the children and the alienated parent are so great, counselling is often recommended to help to encourage healing and healthy relationship building for all parties. If you or someone you know is dealing with the current or lingering effects of parental alienation, the counsellors at Horizon Plymouth are professional and experienced and would love to help you work through your experiences today.