Technology helps bring married couples closer together even though the use of electronic devices can be a source of tension, a new survey shows.
The Pew Internet survey found 21 per cent of married or partnered adults felt closer to their spouse or partner because of exchanges they had online or via text message.
One in four of the couples surveyed said they texted their partner when they were both home together and nine per cent have resolved an argument online or by text message that they were having difficulty resolving in person.
But the survey also found technology was a source of tension for some couples.
Twenty-five per cent of mobile phone owners in a marriage or partnership said their spouse or partner was distracted by their mobile phone when they were together.
And eight per cent said they argued with their spouse or partner about the amount of time one of them was spending online.
The trends appeared magnified among younger adults surveyed, Pew found.
The survey found 42 per cent of 18-29 year olds with mobile phones in serious relationships say their partner has been distracted by their mobile phone; but 41 per cent in the age group said they felt closer to their partner because of online or text conversations.
“Technology is everywhere and our relationships are no exception,” said Amanda Lenhart, a Pew researcher and lead author of the report.
“And for younger adults and those in newer relationships, tools such as cell phones and social media were there at the beginning and play a greater role today for good and for ill.”
The survey also found two out of three people in a marriage or committed relationship shared a password to one or more of their online accounts with their spouse or partner.
One in four of those in a couple said they share an email account with a partner and 11 per cent of these couples have an online calendar that they share.
The Pew researchers found those who have been married or partnered 10 years or less have different digital habits.
Those who were already together as a couple at the advent of a new platform or technology were more likely to jump on together, while those who begin relationships with their own existing accounts and profiles tend to continue to use them separately as individuals, the report said.
Some nine per cent of adult mobile phone owners surveyed said they have sent a sext – or sexually suggestive image – of themselves to someone else, up from six per cent in 2012.
And one in five mobile owners have received a sext of someone else they know on their phone, up from 15 per cent who said this in 2012.
The report is based on a survey of 2252 US adults from April 17 to May 19. The margin of error for married or partnered adults is estimated at 2.9 points and for mobile phone owners 2.4 percentage points.