The rise of social media has led to an increase in ‘digital infidelity’, a new study has suggested.
Researchers from the University of Indiana found that people in relationships use new technology to stay in touch with people they consider potential replacements for their partners.
Those surveyed admitted to exchanging romantic or sexual messages with an average of two people who were not their partner.
The study found that men are twice as likely to do so. These potential replacement partners, or “back burners”, can include platonic friends, ex-partners, and colleagues.
Despite higher rates among men, keeping a “back burner” was found to be prevalent among both genders.
Helen Fisher, a professor of biological anthropology at Rutgers University, said that digital infidelity “is the kind of cheating that is increasing” because it is easier. However, she was not convinced that new technology led to more people being unfaithful overall.
She added that “rushing away from the dinner table with your family to check your email” will have a negative impact on the person’s relationship.
Additionally, in April, a study by researchers at the University of Missouri indicated that Twitter use could increase instances of divorce.