Social media has a lot of influence on family interaction. There, are however, issues of concern which include internet addiction and concurrent sleep deprivation resulting from long hours of internet use leading to minimum family communication. The study focused on the influence of social media on family communication. The general objective of the study was to establish the influence of social media on family communication. Specifically, the study sought to determine the various types of social media commonly used in families and how they affect personal space of family members, and content accessed on social media and their effect on communication among family members. The study was informed by Uses and Gratification Theory and Time Displacement Theory. The study employed a descriptive survey research design which involved observing and describing the behavior of the subjects without influencing them. Purposive sampling and snowballing techniques were used to come up with the sample size. The population targeted was families, specifically parents and children residing in Nairobi County and using social media. A sample of three hundred and seventy respondents was targeted. In-depth interviews and Focus Group Discussions were used as tools to collect data. Fifteen families were interviewed and fifteen Focus Group Discussions were also conducted. Snowballing technique was used to get these participants. The data collected was analyzed qualitatively. Findings of the study indicated that younger participants preferred to communicate on social media than have physical interaction since it was less involving and allowed one to share freely. They depended on social media for advice, mentorship, entertainment and even gave up their privacy for personal space. The findings revealed the challenges that impede proper communication and interaction among family members and provided to the relevant authorities and policy makers greater insight into ways and means of making use of social media more effective in contributing to interactivity among family members.  Results of this study have provided insight into family communication for family communicators, provided knowledge for family therapists that will help settle family communication discourses, and also added to the knowledge of research on family communication.

Mmbwanga Florence, Dr Martina Mutheu.