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New research sheds light on the use of technology in relationships

The University of Plymouth has produced a report in association with the UK Safer Internet Centre exploring how young adults use technology within their relationships, with 88% of the 16-24 year olds surveyed agreeing or strongly agreeing that technology has had a positive impact on their relationship.

Professor Andy Phippen of Plymouth University, who conducted the study, said; “This survey is the first of its kind and provides us with brand new data on how young adults use technology in their intimate lives. This is just the beginning and there is still lots of research to be done in this area. However initial results suggest that young people feel technology is having a positive effect on their relationships."

Over half of the respondents aged 16-24 felt that online activities formed a regular part of interaction in a relationship (60%) and were an important part of forming new relationships (52%). However, almost half of those surveyed agreed that online interaction could damage “offline” relationships.

The study also revealed that 80% of the respondents aged 16-24 had used a smartphone or the web for sexual purposes. One in ten 16-24 year olds that responded to the survey had made contact with people online and then subsequently met them in the ‘physical’ world to have casual sex.

The academic study titled “The Use of Technology in Relationships” was conducted by Professor Andy Phippen from Plymouth University in association with the UK Safer Internet Centre, based on 850 self-selecting individuals reporting their ages as between 16-24. The questionnaire was conducted online and promoted in various ways including Radio 1’s “Sex Night” and Twitter.

The results will feature in Websex: What’s the Harm?, part of BBC Three’s Sex Season.