Edited By Carol J. Bruess
14. Couples’ Communication of Rules and Boundaries for Social Networking Site Use
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JACLYN D. CRAVENS JASON B. WHITING
Texas Tech University
Technology and Internet use in our daily lives has rapidly grown over the past 15 years. As of 2014, in the United States 90% of adults have cell phones, 58% own smartphones, and 42% have a tablet computer (Pew Internet and American Life Project, 2014). The increase in Internet and social networking site (SNS) use has become a major factor in U.S. couples’ relationships. Researchers found that couples use technology in their relationships to facilitate communication and support, to resolve arguments and for sexting (Lenhart & Duggan, 2014). Further, couples reported that the Internet has had a major impact—both good and bad—on their relationships, particularly for the 18–29-year-old cohort.
Technology has many positive impacts on relationships, such as helping maintain relationships (Sidelinger, Ayash, Gordorhazy, & Tibbles, 2008) and increasing connection (Pettigrew, 2009). One fifth of participants in a recent study on couple relationships reported use of technology has helped them feel closer to their partner (Lenhart & Duggan, 2014). Researchers have also explored how computer-mediated communication (CMC) compares to face-to-face communication (Ross & Kauth, 2002). CMC facilitates feelings of anonymity, allowing Internet users to communicate with other users with less inhibition, which can lead to more honest, open, and personal conversations (Spears & Lea, 1994).
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