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Has Technology Led to More Divorces?

The Latest Research on Technology and Divorce is Mixed; But there are Some Worrying Signs

Technology has dramatically changed our lives. From smartphones and social networks to complex predictive algorithms and innovative dating apps, new technology is seemingly everywhere. Many people are understandably concerned that technology is undermining some of our core familial relationships.

This raises an important question: Has the rise of technology actually led to more divorces ? This is not an easy question to answer. The signs are generally mixed. Here, our Texas family law team highlights some of the most recent data and research on modern technology and divorce.

The Divorce Rate Has Dropped in Recent Years

Modern technology, in the way that it is contemporary thought of, began to rise in the 1990s and early 2000s, with the expansion of internet access and the invention of the smartphone. Yet, during this same period the American divorce rate did not see a sharp rise. In fact, the best evidence suggests that the divorce rate is probably going down slightly. This is well-illustrated by a chart that was recently included in an article from The Washington Post : the U.S. divorce rate began to rise after major cultural changes in the 1960s; after peaking in 1980, the divorce rate stabilized and now is slowly dropping. Though, this data is somewhat complex to interpret. At least part of the reason for the drop in the divorce raise is simply that fewer people are actually getting married in the first place.

High Technology Use Might Be Correlated With an Increased Risk of Divorce

The National Marriage Institute at the University of Virginia put together a comprehensive report on American relationships. This study (called: The State of our Unions ) offers a detailed exploration of U.S. marriages. Among other things, the researchers closely reviewed the role that technology plays in marriage. The results of their research raise some serious concerns. Notably, the researchers found that high technology use was correlated with an increased risk of marital strife and divorce. The more time spent watching TV and using social media apps, the more likely a couple was to get divorced. Specifically, the researchers noted three ways in which technology can adversely impact a relationship:

  1. Purchasing the latest expensive and unnecessary gadgets can create financial problems;

  2. Heavy social media or smartphone use distracts from important family time, potentially harming a couple’s ability to bond; and

  3. Easy access to social media and dating apps can create temptation in relationships that are already struggling.

The bottom line: when used improperly, technology can cause damage to a relationship. It is important for people to set clear boundaries for their own use of technology. Traditional, face-to-face family time is still important.

Get Help From a Pearland, TX Divorce Lawyer Today

At the office of John Powell III, P.C., our compassionate Texas divorce lawyers understand just how emotionally difficult a marital separation can be. If you need divorce or family law help, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team today for immediate legal assistance. We have offices in Pearland and we serve family law clients throughout the region, including in Houston, Galveston, Missouri City, Sugar Land, and Alvin.