Revealed: tell-tale signs that cell phones are hurting YOUR marriage

Revealed: the tell-tale signs that cell phones are hurting YOUR marriage. Researchers advise couples to swap TikTok for talking, linking ‘phubbing’ to strife, less sex, and even divorce

  • Smartphone addiction is real, and it could be hurting your sex life  
  • Younger and poorer Americans struggle more with endless scrolling, says study 
  • READ MORE: psychology task force releases 10 social media rules for parents 

Constantly scrolling through TikTok videos on your cell phone instead of chatting with your spouse may be a sign of marriage troubles, new research shows.

The Institute for Family Studies (IFS), a conservative study group, has detected links between chronic smartphone use and marital woes.

A survey of 2,000 married Americans aged between 18-55 found that excessive cell phone use was linked to less sex, relationship problems, and a greater fear of divorce.

Many respondents said they were unhappy with ‘phubbing,’ as it is known, which combines the words ‘phone’ and ‘snubbing.’

Younger couples have a harder time putting down phones and chatting over a glass of wine

Researchers asked 2,000 married Americans aged between 18-55

The survey comes amid growing concerns that Americans, especially children, are addicted to their phones and social media apps, and that their mental health is suffering as a result.

Wendy Wang, who led the research, said the findings were a ’cause for alarm and a call for serious solutions.’


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‘Our research finds that phone addiction within marriage is linked to fewer date nights, less sex, less marital happiness, and increased chances for divorce,’ Wang added.

More than one-third of respondents said their partner was often on the phone or some other screen when they wanted to chat or do something as a couple.

Income is a factor. Fully 44 percent of poorer couples said they struggled with phone use, against 31 percent of richer types.

Younger couples are also more likely to be distracted by their phones at home.

Those complaining of excessive cell phone use were more likely to describe marriage woes.

Only about six in 10 adults whose spouse was often on the phone said they were ‘very happy’ with their relationship.

For those without a smartphone problem, that figure was 81 percent.

Overusing cell phones was linked to less sex and bigger fears about divorce 

Couples with cell phone issues are also more likely to say they were heading to a divorce.

More than a quarter of couples with the smartphone issue say they’re pessimistic about their marriage’s chances, against 7 percent among those without the difficulty.

Researchers found that couples with cell phone issues also had problems in the bedroom.

They had sex less frequently than others, and had fewer date nights.

Still, researchers admitted that phones may not be the root of the problem.

An unhappy spouse could just be playing Wordle or tweeting relentlessly to avoid speaking with their partner.

But smartphones are ‘engineered to be addictive’ and ‘it is naïve to assume that adults would be totally immune to their design,’ said the seven-page study.

‘The most likely scenario is that marital difficulty and addiction to smartphones are reinforcing each other, and that — without breaking out of the smartphone addiction — the underlying marital problems will be exacerbated to the breaking point,’ it added.

Couples with problems should set ground rules about spending time together and using smartphones, researchers said. 

Couples need to know when to put down their phones

Some should even consider downgrading to basic phones that only let users talk, text and email.

IFS said social media firms should cut addictive features from their platforms, such as infinite scroll.

A separate survey by OnePoll has found that smartphones are derailing family life in other ways.

The study of 2,000 parents found that six in 10 admitted they spent five hours each day on electronic devices, compared to just four hours of quality time with their kids.

America’s top doctor recently warned that social media presents a ‘profound risk of harm’ for children and called for ‘action to protect kids.

US surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy said in a health advisory that the country was experiencing ‘a national youth mental health crisis’ and pointed towards social media as one of the main culprits.

Evidence has mounted for years that smartphones and social media were detrimental to youths, due to highly sophisticated algorithms which can promote self-harm and other dangerous content to young users.

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