Clicking the like button may lead to divorce, researchers say

Clicking the like button may lead to divorce, researchers say

Most people probably view liking a picture of an old college roommate’s dog as a mostly innocent act without much consequence. Not so, a new study says. Researchers recently discovered that in North Carolina and across America, divorce rates appear to be directly affected by the use of the social networking website, Facebook.

Researchers first studied divorce rates in almost 45 states and then cross-referenced those numbers with the amount of new Facebook accounts opened in each individual state. What they found was that for every 20 percent increase in Facebook users in a state, the divorce rate went up 2.2 percent. The researchers did not give a definitive reason for this somewhat surprising correlation, although some authorities have chimed in with their theories.

One suggestion is that ex-boyfriends and girlfriends are now only a click away. When a marriage enters a rough patch, an affair may be more readily accessible and both easier and faster to carry out. Additionally, it has also been theorized that some individuals may choose to focus on Facebook rather than their marriage, so if a marriage was already on the rocks, social networking can possibly have an adverse effect.

Facebook has been cited in a growing number of divorce filings, sometimes because Facebook actually can cause a divorce or because a divorce may cause an individual to need an escape, something which Facebook can often provide. Whether it was Facebook or a myriad of other reasons that a North Carolina marriage came to an end, careful attention should still be paid to important matters, such as child custody or determining alimony payments. In the even that mutual agreement or third-party mediation fails to produce a divorce settlement that both parties can agree upon, the next step may be court, where the final decision will lie with a judge.

Source: MarketWatch, “Does Facebook break up marriages?“, Quentin Fottrell, July 7, 2014

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