London, Jan 23 (IANS) With social media substituting real-life communication, one-third of people communicate less face-to-face with their loved ones, a key factor for damaging relationships, a study has found. The findings showed that a significant third of people communicate less with their parents (31 per cent), children (33 per cent), partners (23 per cent) and friends (35 per cent) because they can see and communicate with them via social media. "Digital communication is an opportunity to bridge the gaps in our modern lives caused by living in different cities or countries. However, it cannot replace face-to-face communication -- at least not always and not completely," said Astrid Carolus, media psychologist at the University of Wurzburg in Germany. Although social media can help ease communication channels and bridge time zones and distance barriers, it does not always make people happy. It can strain relationships as well as leaving people feeling down and upset, as they constantly compare their lives to those of others. The hunt for "likes" and social validation leads people to share increasing amounts of private information on social media platforms, putting not only themselves but also their friends, family and colleagues at risk. Further, 21 per cent of parents admitted that relationships with their children have been damaged as a result of them being seen in a compromising situation on social media. In contrast, only 14 per cent of parents said they were annoyed by their children's online behaviour. In addition, around one-in-five (16 per cent) people also said that their relationship with their spouse or partner has been damaged as a result of them being seen in a compromising situation on social media. However, many people believe that the quality of their relationships does not suffer at all and is even better as a result of being connected with their loved ones online. "Under certain circumstances they perceive their online communication as "hyper-personal communication" and thus they can misread and over-interpret the messages on social media. We feel especially close, we blind out the rather negative, focus on the possible positive intentions behind a message and over-interpret," Carolus noted.