Social media creates relationship obstacles

by Student Writer Isaac Norris

It is no secret social media has an impact on the way people communicate with each other. A bigger question is how that change in communication affects the way individuals form romantic relationships and date.

Psychology majors Erin Cooper, Jordain Crump and Erica Kelly are working on an original survey that focuses on jealousy and social media.

“We were all in experimental psychology, and we had to come up with a project for the class,” Cooper said. “Something that I was interested in is romantic relationships and social media, and the impact it has on those relationships.”

Crump said they are including various social media outlets in the survey: Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tinder.

Cooper said with Snapchat’s newest update no one can view another user’s best friend list.

“That’s probably because it was causing so many relationship issues, from what I’m hearing,” said Amber Paulk, assistant professor of sociology.

The students’ study also has the possibility of being published in a journal, Cooper said.

There are a few different journals that could cover the study such as Cyber Psychology and Behavior in Social Networking, Paulk said.

Cooper said she hopes the survey will help people reflect on dating choices.

“Ideally, we could educate people and hopefully help them make better decisions when it comes to dating,” she said.

A more recent trend in social media is couples sharing profiles or passwords.

According to a 2014 Pew Research survey, 67 percent of internet users in a marriage or committed relationship have shared the password to one or more of their online accounts with their spouse or partner.

In addition, 11 percent of partnered or married adults who use social networking sites share a social media profile, the survey reads.

“I think it depends on the couple and it depends on how mature they are,” Cooper said. “I see mostly older people using shared profiles.”

A need for shared accounts could stem from mistrust, Crump said.

“Personally, from what I have seen with people that share profiles, there have been infidelities with either one or both of the people involved,” Crump said.

In terms of relationships and infidelity, social media has created another obstacle, Paulk said.

“People that would have never cheated 30 years ago are messaging people on social media, and they’re cheating,” she said. “I don’t think we will fully understand the impact of social media in reference to infidelity.”

Business major Ethan Byrd said the only reasons couples share accounts are if one person does not want their own account or if there is mistrust.

“If it’s the first case, then just don’t have a Facebook,” he said. If it’s the second, then you’ve got bigger problems.”