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Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media

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Edited By Carol J. Bruess

Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media is an innovative collection of contemporary data-driven research and theorizing about how digital and social media are affecting and changing nearly every aspect of family interaction over the lifespan. The research and thinking featured in the book reflects the intense growth of interest in families in the digital age. Chapters explore communication among couples, families, parents, adolescents, and emerging adults as their realities are created, impacted, changed, structured, improved, influenced and/or inhibited by cell phones, smartphones, personal desktop and laptop computers, MP3 players, e-tablets, e-readers, email, Facebook, photo sharing, Skype, Twitter, SnapChat, blogs, Instagram, and other emerging technologies. Each chapter significantly advances thinking about how digital media have become deeply embedded in the lives of families and couples, as well as how they are affecting the very ways we as twenty-first-century communicators see ourselves and, by extension, conceive of and behave in our most intimate and longest-lasting relationships.
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10. What Marriage and Family Therapists Tell Us about Improving Couple Relationships through Technology

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← 206 | 207 → What Marriage and Family Therapists Tell Us about Improving Couple Relationships through Technology

FRED P. PIERCYDANA RIGERCHRISTINA VOSKANOVAWEI-NING CHANGEMILY HAUGENLEONARD STURDIVANT

Virginia Tech

AUTHOR NOTE: We would like to acknowledge support for this project from the Center for Information Technology Impacts on Children, Youth, and Families and the Department of Human Development at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Introduction

New technologies are shaping the ways we form and maintain our relationships. While technology can certainly have its shadow side, with the potential to distance partners and facilitate affairs (Cravens, Leckie, & Whiting, 2013; Kerkhof, Finkenauer, & Muusses, 2011; Toma, 2013), new technologies such as social media, Internet resources, texting, and video chatting can also help couples strengthen their relationships. For example, technology can help couples better manage conflict (Pettigrew, 2009; Scissors & Gergle, 2013). According to a Pew Research Internet Project poll (Lenhart & Duggan, 2014), digital technology such as texting helps some couples communicate better and feel closer to one another. Scissors and ← 207 | 208 → Gergle (2013) found that computer-mediated communication, for example, can help angry couples slow down and cool off.

The choices a partner makes on social media can contribute to higher levels of personal and relationship satisfaction (Papp, Danielewicz, & Cayemberg, 2012). For example, the time people spend viewing and editing personal information on social media may predict relationship improvement; partner portrayal of relationships on Facebook hold importance for relationship...

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