Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Reconfiguring Partners and Relationships Bill Dutton & Nai Li
eHarmony and the OII Los Angeles British Consul Model for Dating Business Opportunities Growing into UK Market Matching with OII eHarmony Local, cultural sensitivity Branding Data Protection Issues OII Online Dating? Reconfiguring Access Interesting Case Capacity Building
Supported by eHarmony (2008—2013)
Phase I (Feb 2008—Feb 2009): Project design and pre-testing
Phase II (Feb 2009—Mar 2011): Main fieldwork
Phase III (Mar 2011 – Feb 2013): Worldwide
36 country, Pan-European survey
Me, My Spouse and the Internet Study
cognitive interview & focus group interviews -- qualitative study
Online survey : sample recruited by SSI & Toluna
Fieldwork: two phases
Phase I: Australia, Spain, UK and USA -- SSI
Phase II: three waves -- Toluna
Wave 1: Mar - May 2010 (16 countries, 9 Languages) Wave 2: June - July 2010 ( Brazil and Japan ) Wave 3: Nov 2010 - Feb 2011 ( Eastern Europe and Asia) Research Design and Method
Online survey development and issues
45 minutes for individuals / 90 minutes for couples
Only couple completions is treated as a complete
Multiple language options for most European countries
Research Design and Method
Role of the Internet in romantic relationships
Attraction and selection
Attraction and selection
Where do ‘we’ meet?
Do ‘we’ meet different people online?
Which tools do ‘we’ use to communicate?
What do ‘we’ communicate about on the Internet?
Which expectations do ‘we ‘have about online behaviour (of our partners)
What do ‘we’ consider acceptable online behaviour?
Do couples who met offline differ from those who met online? Does the Internet shape selection?
Expectation – Hypothesis?
Sample and Design (Case study: UK & Australia)
Attraction and Selection Question: Did you first meet your current partner online or offline?
Age groups of couples who met online Question: Did you first meet your current partner online or offline? In what year were you born?
Where did online couples meet Question: Did you first meet your current partner online or offline? Where online did you meet?
Couples who met online by Age Difference Question: In what year were you born?
Couples who met online by Education Difference Question: What is the highest level of education that you have attained?
Importance of Partner’s Attributes Question: When you think about your marriage, how important are the following attributes?
Couples who met online by Differences in Interests Question: Please use the scale (1-5) below to rate your interest in the following things.
Commercial Meets Academic Research Degrees? Time horizons? Deadlines Predictability: unanticipated changes Branding And more … Opportunities for Academic Research?
Online relationships: Debilitating or liberating?
Social Scripts for relationships
Managing relationships What explains which media people use to discuss problems People with more digital skills are more likely to use technologies to discuss problems in the relationship (independent of how long they’ve used the Internet) Younger people discuss problems more frequently face to face than older people, but there is no difference in their use of email or instant messaging (IM) for communicating about problems Couples with higher marital satisfaction are more likely to discuss problems when they can get instant feedback (face to face or through IM, but not through email) Increases in marital conflict and avoidance behaviour increases communication through email and instant messaging but not face to face communication Discussing problems face to face is linked to less frequent discussion of problems through email and IM A tendency to discuss problems through one ICT (Phone, SMS) is linked to discussing problems through other ICTs as well and is related to less frequent discussion of problems face to face.
Netiquette: General use Do you ever spend too much time online?
The majority couples have similar perceptions of the time they spent online
43% of couples has dissimilar time use patterns – Cause for conflict?
Does it matter whether husband or wife is evaluated?
Base. All couples who completed more than 90% of survey (N=929)
Netiquette: Differences in use Base. All couples who completed more than 90% of survey (N=929) It seems that women are more worried about the time they and their husbands spend online Do you ever feel that you spend too much time on the Internet? Do you feel that your partner spends too much time on the Internet?
Netiquette: Different activities (OxIS) Activities in the last year. Internet Users: OxIS 2007 N=1,578
Netiquette: Acceptability infidelity How would you feel if your partner engaged in the following activities on the Internet? (Unhappy/Don’t care/Happy)
Netiquette: Acceptability Infidelity How would you feel if your partner engaged in the following activities on the Internet? Physical infidelity Emotional infidelity Base. All couples who completed more than 90% of survey (N=929)
Netiquette: Specific activities - differences When partners in a couple disagree it is more likely that the husband finds a certain behaviour acceptable in his wife than that the wife finds it acceptable in her husband This is especially true for viewing of ‘adult’ sites Base. All couples who completed more than 90% of survey (N=929)
Netiquette: Monitoring Have you ever checked up on your partner’s activities without them knowing, by doing the following? ‘Reading their emails’ (20%), ‘Reading their SMS’(20%), ‘Checking their browser history’ (13%), ‘Reading their IM logs’(5%), ‘Using monitoring software’(2%), and ‘By pretending to be another person’(1%)
In 73% of couples there is similar surveillance behaviour between partners
In 44% of couples at least one of the partners monitors the other partner’s behaviour
Husband only monitor Wife only monitor No surveillance Base. All couples who completed more than 90% of survey (N=929) Both monitor
Monitoring: Differences The wife is for all these behaviours more likely to monitor her husbands behaviour than her husband is to monitor hers. Base. All couples who completed more than 90% of survey (N=929)
Gender hugely important in relation to surveillance and netiquette – women are more (have more reason to be) concerned than men about online behaviour
Age is related to decrease in monitoring (directly and through higher satisfaction with relationship) – This cannot be explained by experience with the internet
Both personality and relationship characteristics are important
Points of Summary and Conclusion
Commercially-led research might offer academic opportunities
Online dating could offer opportunities for exploring theoretical perspectives on the Internet’s role