Mobile technologies and relationships: Rebuilding meaningful connections

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Penner, Melissa
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Mobile-information communication technologies (MICT) (smart phones, tablets, internet, social media, texting) have become the preferred method of communication for many people in the twenty first century (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, 2019; Turkle, 2015). The advent of the smartphone has enabled people to be "connected" to one another through various communication platforms from nearly any location, at any time. Thus, Computer-Mediated Communication's (CMC) (Facebook, text message, Snap Chat, WhatsApp, online dating applications) have transformed the way that human beings socialize and communicate with one another. As the use of CMC is increasing, MICT appears to be meeting the human need for connection in a much more efficient manner than face to face communications. As such, CMC is being utilized as a mechanism for maintenance of romantic partnerships, thus creating both possibilities and challenges for the development of intimacy in relationship (Juhasz & Bradford, 2016). Although research has found that the use of MICT can strengthen ones perceived sense of connection in relationships (Janssen, Ijsselsteijn & Weserink, 2014; Hoffner & Lee, 2015), many studies indicate that MICT use functions as a distraction from face to face relationships thereby preventing the development of intimacy necessary for romantic relationship satisfaction (Amichai-Hamburger & Etgar, 2016; Roberts & David, 2016). This capstone aims to explore the effect of MICT, focusing on the role of CMC in the formation of intimacy in romantic relationships. Specifically, I will be looking at how mobile CMC impacts our ability to be present, empathic and attuned in long-term romantic partnerships. I hypothesize that a review of the literature will find that although more couples are utilizing MICT as a way to connect with their intimate partners, the use of these technologies are actually undermining the ability for partners to be present with one another thereby impeding relationship satisfaction. Within this paper, the terms spouse and partner will be used interchangeably. The research presented in this paper considered and is inclusive of couples of all genders and sexual orientations.
computer-mediated communication , CMC , intimacy , relationships , empathy , mindfulness
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States , openAccess