In 2005, only 16% of the interviewed couples claimed that the Internet affected their relations. In 2013, this number reached 27%. At the same time, 74% of respondents characterized the influence of the Internet as positive and 20% – as negative.
2,252 US residents aged 18 and over were involved in the survey.
Most of all, the Internet has affected the personal lives of young people: 45% surveyed subjects aged between 18 and 29 noted that the Web somehow changed their relationship compared to 10% of respondents aged 65 and older. The Internet and smartphones are one of the constant sources of anxiety and tension in many couples, say analysts. Every fourth interviewed user living with a partner or spouse complained that their partner gets distracted by their gadgets when they spend time together, and 8% quarreled because one of them spends too much time online.
In addition, thanks to social networks, everyone can get access to a huge amount of personal information about their current or potential partner, which can easily become a reason for jealousy or doubt. You and your partner see what each of you publishes, as if you live a different life, and for some relationships, it becomes a kind of test. If you don’t trust the person completely, you’ll have paranoia against the background of that personal information that looms in front of your eyes day after day. Smartphones and the Internet bring people together, but they distract them from each other mentally. These are artificial means of communication, and they allow people to hide from live communication and each other.
Through text messages, it’s easier to hide your emotions, lie, or embellish some qualities. Often, people text each other, being in the same room: they find it difficult to express emotions, tell the truth to each other, so text messages are a way to find a safe space for communication.
At the same time, communication at a distance has its advantages. 21% of the interviewed users admitted that messages made them feel closer to their partners, and 9% were able to resolve a conflict that was too difficult to resolve, using text messages. The older users are, the more they ‘share’ the Internet with their mates. 27% of the users in the relationship said they shared their email address with the partner, and 67% told at least one password to their partners. First of all, this applies to elderly couples: a common mailbox is a thing for 47% of couples aged 65 and only 12% for couples aged 18 to 29 years.
In 2013, sexting became even more common. In particular, among people aged from 18 to 24, but there are also users aged from 25 to 30 years that send such messages to their loved ones frequently. According to the research, every fifth smartphone owner received such messages from someone from their circle of friends (in 2012, this number was 15%), and 9% actually send them (in 2012, there were only 6%). Experts note that this is significant growth.
Contrary to stereotypes, people, who are in a permanent relationship, send erotic messages at least to those, who are actively searching for a partner, but this applies only to persons, who are in relationships for less than ten years: 32% compared to only 6% of those, whose relationships last ten years or more.
The main danger of sexting is that the person receiving the message can send it to anyone or publish it on the Internet. The ability to protect against such incidents is one of the main reasons for the success of instant messengers like Snapchat, that delete photos and messages shortly after you see them.
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