Me, My Spouse and the Internet
It’s become a bit of a worn cliché to say that the Internet is changing everything. Many things are obvious- from the read-write web to social networking to online transacting.
But there are also less obvious, more tectonic shifts happening. These are slow societal shifts that will ultimately change the shape of society itself. These deep changes are not readily apparent amongst the constant shrill of everyday headlines. Nevertheless, they are happening- every day, all the time, in imperceptible increments- leading to fundamental shifts stretching over years.
So it was with interest (and with a vested interest) that I read the results of the survey results from the UK’s Oxford Internet Institute as a part of a project called Me, My Spouse and the Internet. As the Institute’s Director said, “This study is a dramatic illustration of the potential for the Internet to reconfigure social relationships.”
The results from the study show the role played by the Internet in the relationships of a representative sample of over 2,000 married Internet users in UK. Some highlights include:
1. 20% of married Internet users admitted to reading their partner’s emails and text messages; 13% to having checked their partner’s browser history.
2. 6% of married Internet users first met their partner online. Just over a third of these were through an online dating site. People meeting future partners online had greater education and age gaps.
3. Face-to-face communication was (still) the most reported way for married Internet users to discuss personal matters and resolve problems but other channels were also used, including text messaging (27% of users), and email (14% of users).
4. Disclosing a partner’s intimate details and other shady online activities got a big thumbs down from partners.
Hmmm… there doesn’t seem to be anything about what married Internet users think about their partner’s blogging activity yet. Or if there any blogging widows out there. That’s a sign for me to move on…