Facebook and divorce

Back to the bad effects of the internet:

Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System. Furthermore, 81 percent of the country’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking evidence during the past five years, according to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Last but not least, Facebook is the unrivaled leader for online divorce evidence with 66 percent citing it as the primary source, the AAML said.

It’s not that Facebook is solely to blame: already-strained marriages are bound to break with or without the service. Still, a couple doesn’t have to be experiencing marital difficulties for an online relationship to develop from mere online chatting into a full-fledged affair.

via Facebook blamed for 1 in 5 divorces in the US | ZDNet.

HT: Joe Carter

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    There is something dehumanizing about “social” interaction over the internet. Nevertheless, neither facebook nor the internet is to blame for our infidelities – new technology only empowers our latent sinfulness.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    There is something dehumanizing about “social” interaction over the internet. Nevertheless, neither facebook nor the internet is to blame for our infidelities – new technology only empowers our latent sinfulness.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Well said, John!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Well said, John!

  • WebMonk

    Similar to what John said, I highly doubt that Facebook creates more affairs as much as it moves them. Instead of having an affair with someone at the office, a neighbor, or other friend, the affair takes place with someone that you are friends with on Facebook.

    Sure, guy/woman has an affair with an old high school flame, who they discover through Facebook, lives in the same town. But, without Facebook, the affair would have been with the friend of someone they met at a bar.

  • WebMonk

    Similar to what John said, I highly doubt that Facebook creates more affairs as much as it moves them. Instead of having an affair with someone at the office, a neighbor, or other friend, the affair takes place with someone that you are friends with on Facebook.

    Sure, guy/woman has an affair with an old high school flame, who they discover through Facebook, lives in the same town. But, without Facebook, the affair would have been with the friend of someone they met at a bar.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Agree with the above points. Facebook is not the cause of affairs, but it sure does facilitate them.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Agree with the above points. Facebook is not the cause of affairs, but it sure does facilitate them.

  • Cincinnatus

    In addition to what WebMonk and J. Dean said, I doubt that many extramarital affairs are even begun on Facebook (not to say the internet generally) in the first place. The problem is that many people use social networking technology stupidly and publicize things–including infidelities–that would, in a previous epoch, have been conducted discreetly or covertly (for better or worse).

    The utter disregard, not only for the privacy of others, but for one’s own privacy and public dignity is the real phenomenon of note here in the internet age.

  • Cincinnatus

    In addition to what WebMonk and J. Dean said, I doubt that many extramarital affairs are even begun on Facebook (not to say the internet generally) in the first place. The problem is that many people use social networking technology stupidly and publicize things–including infidelities–that would, in a previous epoch, have been conducted discreetly or covertly (for better or worse).

    The utter disregard, not only for the privacy of others, but for one’s own privacy and public dignity is the real phenomenon of note here in the internet age.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I think these are all good points. I am sure telephones were first mentioned in divorce filings shortly after invention. Shoes also facilitate our sinful hearts, by allowing us to walk more comfortably to where we meet other sinners.

  • http://journeytoluther.blogspot.com/ moallen

    I think these are all good points. I am sure telephones were first mentioned in divorce filings shortly after invention. Shoes also facilitate our sinful hearts, by allowing us to walk more comfortably to where we meet other sinners.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The utter disregard, not only for the privacy of others, but for one’s own privacy and public dignity is the real phenomenon of note here in the internet age.”

    Fun idea. Quiz folks to find out how many folks in different age ranges even know what ‘dignity’ means.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “The utter disregard, not only for the privacy of others, but for one’s own privacy and public dignity is the real phenomenon of note here in the internet age.”

    Fun idea. Quiz folks to find out how many folks in different age ranges even know what ‘dignity’ means.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    From what I’ve read, it’s hard to accurately label this a “bad effect of the Internet”. It would be much more accurate to say that Facebook is a fertile source of evidence for divorce lawyers.

    When I first read that “Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States”, I thought it meant that Facebook is being blamed. Perhaps some of you did, too — it certainly would explain the “bad effects” reading.

    But if you click through to the ZDNet article, read the update at the top (“the ’1 in 5 divorces in the US’ statistic is from December 2009 and has simply been pushed to the top again by a new press release”) and then go on to read the Telegraph article they link to for this statistic, you find this:

    Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said: “I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.”

    Note: “20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook”.

    Which makes sense. When an awful lot of social interaction takes place on Facebook, we shouldn’t be surprised that no small amount of evidence of marital infidelity can be found there, as well.

    But, again, this is different from people blaming Facebook for their divorce (something like, “Oh, we never talk anymore; he’s always chatting with his high school friends on Facebook”).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    From what I’ve read, it’s hard to accurately label this a “bad effect of the Internet”. It would be much more accurate to say that Facebook is a fertile source of evidence for divorce lawyers.

    When I first read that “Facebook is cited in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States”, I thought it meant that Facebook is being blamed. Perhaps some of you did, too — it certainly would explain the “bad effects” reading.

    But if you click through to the ZDNet article, read the update at the top (“the ’1 in 5 divorces in the US’ statistic is from December 2009 and has simply been pushed to the top again by a new press release”) and then go on to read the Telegraph article they link to for this statistic, you find this:

    Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said: “I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.”

    Note: “20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook”.

    Which makes sense. When an awful lot of social interaction takes place on Facebook, we shouldn’t be surprised that no small amount of evidence of marital infidelity can be found there, as well.

    But, again, this is different from people blaming Facebook for their divorce (something like, “Oh, we never talk anymore; he’s always chatting with his high school friends on Facebook”).

  • SAL

    I think Facebook is a net negative for social well-being.

  • SAL

    I think Facebook is a net negative for social well-being.

  • HistoryProfBrad

    Hmmmm…I think I will post a link to this on Facebook. :-)

  • HistoryProfBrad

    Hmmmm…I think I will post a link to this on Facebook. :-)

  • helen

    moallen @6 “I am sure telephones were first mentioned in divorce filings shortly after invention. “

    Telephones in rural Minnesota commonly had 18 party lines. You were a little careful what you said (given 17 other housewives who preferred “listening in” to the radio “soaps” any day!)
    Adding to that, you would probably be telling ‘all’ to someone on another 18 party line, so “news” covered the county pretty quickly. :(

  • helen

    moallen @6 “I am sure telephones were first mentioned in divorce filings shortly after invention. “

    Telephones in rural Minnesota commonly had 18 party lines. You were a little careful what you said (given 17 other housewives who preferred “listening in” to the radio “soaps” any day!)
    Adding to that, you would probably be telling ‘all’ to someone on another 18 party line, so “news” covered the county pretty quickly. :(

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Like any tool, Facebook can be misused. John @1 hits the nail on the head when he says “new technology only empowers our latent sinfulness.” But tODD is of course right to point out that in the original Telegraph article does not suggest Facebook is the cause of divorce. It might facilitate adultery (as any other medium might), but it’s certainly not the cause. If a man met a woman at the gym and proceeded to have an affair with her, we surely wouldn’t blame the gym.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Like any tool, Facebook can be misused. John @1 hits the nail on the head when he says “new technology only empowers our latent sinfulness.” But tODD is of course right to point out that in the original Telegraph article does not suggest Facebook is the cause of divorce. It might facilitate adultery (as any other medium might), but it’s certainly not the cause. If a man met a woman at the gym and proceeded to have an affair with her, we surely wouldn’t blame the gym.

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