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Fighting with your partner over technology? You’re not alone. If your house is anything like mine you and your partner are arguing about the internet or social media or cell phones. You may be quarreling about all three.
Not too long ago I read an article about a group of friends who pile their cell phones upside down in the middle of the table when they’re out having lunch. First one to pick up their phone before lunch is over pays. Sounds like a plan to me. I don’t think my husband will be happy until they can plant a chip in his head so it will be easier for him to check his messages on the sly.
Technology including the internet, cell phones and social media has become a “key factor” in the life of 66 percent of American couples defined as adults who are married or in committed relationships according to Couples, the Internet, and Social Media published by the Pew Research Internet Project in February 2014. Couples negotiate over when it’s ok to use technology and when it’s not. Some couples squabble over how often it’s used.
On the positive side many couples say that they have felt closer to their partner because of exchanges they had online or via a text message. With a smaller number reporting that it was sometimes easier to resolve an argument either online or using a text message than it was to do so face-to-face. I found it somewhat surprising that 25 percent couples who text say they have texted their partner when they were home together. Although I guess that beats yelling over the TV.
Unfortunately, cell phones can also be a source of tension with 25 percent of those married or in committed relationships saying that they felt their partner was distracted by their cell phone when they were together. Others report that they’ve argued with their partner about how much time they are spending online.
Increasingly technology is used for more than texting your partner things like the plumber’s number or a restaurant address. Nine percent of adult cell phone users have sent sexually suggesting nude or nearly nude photos and videos of themselves to someone – a practice commonly known as sexting. But, be careful if you do, as three percent of respondents said they’ve forwarded a sext to someone else.
Pew also found that 27 percent of internet users who are married or in a committed relationship share an email account and 11 percent share a social media profile. But a whopping 67 percent say they’ve shared their passwords for one or more online accounts with their partner. This may be one of the reasons some report that they’ve been upset by something their partner was doing online.
To read Couples, the Internet, and Social Media visit the Pew Research Internet Project.