A new study shows that that the popular devices that keep us 24/7 connected such as smartphones, notebooks or tablets actually disconnect us from the ones we really care about. Scientists called this phenomenon “technoference”.
Dr Sarah Coyne, psychologist and one of the study’s authors, questioned about 140 women in a relationship about their phone, tablet, PC and TV habits, and their partners’ way of balancing technology and their relationship. The women were also asked if they were satisfied by the quality of their current relationship.
The study showed that 62 percent of women were dissatisfied by their partners answering phone calls during couple leisure time. These women said that these incidents occurred at least once a day. Forty percent of women said that their partner get distracted by TV when having a discussion, while more than 33 percent said the partner usually interrupts a conversation or meal-time to answer the phone. Twenty-five percent said they were interrupted during a conversation by their partner’s texting or e-mailing to other persons. So, it seems that technoference may even ruin relationships.
Researchers noticed that the more technoference disrupted relationships, the more dissatisfied women were about those relationships. Many women also struggled with depression and overall life dissatisfaction because technology interfered in their most intimate relationships. Also, in relationships affected by technoference there was a high risk of infidelity because partners were wasting their vital energy on technology and not on their significant others.
A previous study found that modern people are affected by a “constantly connected” disorder – nearly 60 percent said that they check on their phone at least once an hour, while 50 percent said they were checking their phones before falling asleep, after waking up or even when they should be sleeping.
Experts say that using smartphones in bed can be most damaging for a relationship – people instead of connecting with each and be together choose to estrange themselves for a fake sense of relationship obtained on-line. Technoference can disrupt a couple’s most intimate times, such as mealtimes, leisure time or meaningful conversations.
In 2012, a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships shows that people tend to trust their discussion partner less when a phone is nearby, even if the partner doesn’t use it. People say that they feel their partner is less empathic with them and less willing to invest in a relationship.
However, experts do not suggest that technology should be completely removed from relationships. Instead, partners should set some rules and limits about technology if they want a healthy personal life.