Chapter 4: Technology Use and Couple Relationships

4.3 Learning Activities

Couple Conflict and Technology

Using this table, think of the range of ways in which technology is used by individuals and by couples for communication, entertainment, information gathering and sharing, tasks of daily life and work, and so on, and the range of types of technologies, devices, and applications. Consider the potential conflicts that might arise. Describe them, using words from the frameworks that indicate the effects and influences of technology.


Couple Differences #1

The chapter addressed couple differences by member age, relationship stage, and relationship longevity. Select at least three couples that vary in these ways – couples who are older (like your parents or grandparents) and younger; couples who are early in their relationship and those together for ten years or more; couples who are at the initiation phase and those who are committed. Interview them about their technology use — how it’s used for communication, how the relationship demonstrates levels of trust (e.g., sharing passwords and accounts), where there might be sources of conflict or misunderstanding.


Couple Differences #2

A theme throughout this book is global diversity and differences in access. Identify research on couple technology use representative of non-White, non-U.S. couples. Use another characteristic of couples discussed in the chapter: couple status, age, socioeconomic status, presence of children, a purpose for using technology (e.g., couple initiation and use of dating apps, post-divorce, sexting, gaming). Reflect on how easy or challenging it was to find research on this topic, the volume of research available, who is doing this research, and what the findings tell you about couple technology use compared with what we’ve covered in this chapter (that predominantly focuses on couples in the U.S.).


Dating Apps #1: Effectiveness of Dating Apps

People meet through dating apps like Tinder and Grinder more than ever before. Yet are these apps effective for finding a long-term partner? Effectiveness can  include feeling comfortable in the process of meeting others, and apps expose possible challenges to privacy and identity switching (e.g., catfishing). Debate the pros and cons of using dating apps for a) casual connections/mutual interests and for b) finding a potential partner for a committed relationship.

How do they compare to more IRL (in real life) ways of finding people?


Dating Apps #2: The paradox of choice?

This short video from CBS Mornings (2019, November 11) focuses on the impact of having too many choices in dating apps and the potential for de-individualization. View the video. Based on your own experience, or those of friends or group members, do you agree with this? Disagree?


Dating Apps #3: Serious threats to LGBTQIA+

This article speaks to the choices faced by many in the queer community when using dating apps: finding ways to connect while avoiding technology that exposes individuals to harassment and worse (particularly in countries with policies that do not support gender fluid lifestyles and sexual practices).

Consider the benefits and potential consequences raised in the article. Speak to friends who are queer, or reflect on your own experiences. What are avenues you’d suggest for safety and well-being when finding ways to connect?


Technology and Intimate Partner Violence: Bringing the CDC into the 21st Century

This page from the Centers for Disease Control offers helpful information, resources, and guidance regarding intimate partner violence. But while it was last reviewed in late 2021 (as of this textbook’s writing), there is no mention of technology — not in the definition, the prevalence data, or the discussion of consequences. The bottom of the page offers guidelines in six areas. Given what you’ve read in this chapter and what you know from your own experience and from using technology, how might you adapt those guidelines?



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Critical Perspectives on Technology and the Family Copyright © 2022 by Susan K. Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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