Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Is Facebook Leading to More Divorces?

(Photo: AskMen/iStock)

From Crosswalk (H/T Baptist Press):

"Surveys that show Facebook being cited more and more in divorce cases should make spouses think twice before "friending" someone of the opposite sex, experts say.

A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed that 81 percent of "the nation's top divorce attorneys" reported an increase in social networking websites being used as evidence in divorce cases. Facebook is the leader, being cited in 66 percent of cases that involve online evidence.

"We're coming across it more and more," clinical psychologist Steven Kimmons of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., said in a news release. "One spouse connects online with someone they knew from high school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook. Within a short amount of time, the sharing of personal stories can lead to a deepened sense of intimacy, which in turn can point the couple in the direction of physical contact."

The Facebook-divorce link has been discussed widely in the social media realm lately thanks to a survey from the United Kingdom supposedly showing Facebook being at least partially blamed for one in five of all divorces. The data is from a U.K. online divorce service that found the word "Facebook" appearing in 989 of the company's 5,000 divorce petitions, all of which were uncontested, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company's managing director called the survey "unscientific."

Whether or not Facebook is a reason for one in five divorces, it is becoming an increasing problem in marriages, Kimmons and other marriage experts say.

Couples should take common sense safeguards on Facebook, said Michael Martin, vice president for academic affairs and professor of New Testament studies at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, Calif.

"People need to manage the beginning of the relationship," Martin told Baptist Press. "If somebody contacts you from your past and wants to strike up a friendship -- somebody that you dated once or somebody that you knew in high school or college, there's nothing necessarily wrong with entering into that relationship. Just do it along with your spouse. Include your spouse into the conversation. If you're willing to do that openly, then it's likely there's nothing at all wrong with the Facebook relationship. If you are being invited into a conversation that you are uncomfortable including your spouse in, then you should not start the relationship."

There "absolutely" are times when a husband or wife should decline a Facebook friend invitation from someone of the opposite sex, Martin said."

To read the whole story, click here.


Kelli Krafsky said...

Thanks for the focus on Facebook’s impact on marriages. We noticed you used the “1 in 5 divorces involve Facebook” stat. The “stats” around this issue have gotten so loose and messy that we investigated the 14-month history of this stat and put the findings on our blog, Techlationships.com. We encourage you to read “Debunking the 1-in-5 Divorces Linked to Facebook Stat” at http://bit.ly/1in5FB and maybe do a story on it.

BTW, 2 days after our blog post, the Wall Street Journal did an article on it as well validating our findings.

Let us know if you have any questions! K Jason and Kelli Krafsky (The Social Media Couple/Co-Authors of "Facebook and Your Marriage")

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hi Kelli,

Welcome to my blog! Congrats on the Wall Street Journal, and I'll be checking out the link you provided. Your study sounds very interesting!

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