1st Edition

The Internet Family: Technology in Couple and Family Relationships

    332 Pages
    by Routledge

    332 Pages
    by Routledge

    In The Internet Family, Drs. Katherine Hertlein and Markie Twist provide a current and comprehensive look at the effects of technology on couple and family relationships.

    Beginning with an overview of the multifaceted ways in which technology impacts our relationships today, the authors discuss a wide range of topics pertinent to couple and family life. Chapters focus on issues such as online dating and infidelity, parenting and the Internet, video gaming, cyberbullying, and everyday usage of social and new media, before providing guidance on how the reader can successfully navigate the advantages and risks that emerge from the use of specific technologies. An online appendix offers a range of assessments and practical tools for identifying Internet-related problems and solutions.

    A portion of the text is also devoted to the application of the Couple and Family Technology framework and how it can be effectively integrated into clinicians’ current practice. Couple and family therapists will find this book highly informative, both to use in their own practice and for referring clients to as part of the treatment process.


    PREFACE xix

    Purpose of the Book

    Outline of Chapters

    Key Terms

    A Note on Timeliness


    SECTION 1 Tutorial on Technology and Relationships

    Chapter 1 Couples, Families, and Technology

    Technology Invasion

    Prevalence of Technology in Our Lives

    Mobile Connections by Device

    The Rise of the Applications: Online Video Games

    The Rise of the Applications: Social Networking

    Effects of Technology on Our Individual Selves

    Effects of Technology on Physical Well-Being

    Media Misinformation

    Sedentary Lifestyles


    Effects of Technology on Psychological Well-Being

    Life Satisfaction

    Technology and Our Work Lives

    Projecting What’s Next for Technology in Our Lives

    What Does All of This Mean for Relationships?

    The Pathology of Pathology

    Our View—A Balanced Approach



    Chapter 2 From Digiteris to Tweeps: Understanding Online Communication Patterns

    What Drives Patterns of Technology Use?

    Theoretical Models of MotivationsApplied to Social Media Use

    The Importance of Being in Sync

    Relational Factors Influencing Social Media Use

    The Desire for Social Capital

    ’Cuz You’ve Got . . . Personality (Disorders)?

    The Only Thing to Fear Is Missing Out

    Comparing Face-to-Face and Internet Communication Technologies


    Me, My Selfie, and I

    Self-Presentation in Couples

    Self-Presentation in Families

    Shared Data

    Rituals and Everydayness

    Emotional Intimacy





    Chapter 3 Virtual Impacts on Real-Time Individual, Couple, and Family Developments

    Technology Immersion Across Developmental Contexts

    Individual Lifespan: Erikson Revisited



    Young Adulthood

    Self-Authorship in a Relationally Authored (and Heterogenic) Environment

    Ecological Life Cycle Models

    Bronfenbrenner Revisited

    Social Comparison With Peers à la Festinger

    Taylor Revisited

    Technology Use Across Relational Developmental Stages

    Technology, Anxiety, and Distress (Oh My!)

    You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Phone

    Attachment to Technology: The Missing Link?

    Technology: The Monkey on Your Back (And in Your Family?)

    Technology, Attachment, and Romantic Relationships



    Chapter 4 Family “Net”working

    Digital Family Communication

    Youth and Online Communication

    Parenting in a Digital World

    Parents and Online Communication

    Technology Interference in Parenting

    Technology and Adoption

    Privacy, Technology, and Family Relationships

    From Helicopter-Parents to Drone-Parents:

    Surveillance, Spying, and Other Monitoring Strategies

    Surveillance Habituation

    Family Negotiation of the “Net”



    Chapter 5 The iCouple

    Common Couple Issues in a Digital Age

    Survey Says

    Just the Two of Us

    An Affair to Delete

    Social Media and Romantic Relationships

    Texting and Romantic Relationships

    I Spy With My Little “I”: Surveillance in Couples

    Developing Trust Online



    Chapter 6 Relational Malware: Risks of Technology in Relationships

    The Trouble With Tech

    Risky Business


    Your Penetralia is Showing

    Privacy Considerations: The People

    Privacy Considerations: The Space

    Crossing Boundaries in Unbounded Space (Spy-Berspace?)


    Technology-Based Dating Violence


    “Sometimes It’s Hard to Be a Woman”

    Sweet Revenge?




    SECTION 2 Rebooting Your Relationships

    Chapter 7 What About the Internet Changes Our Relationships?

    A Social Solution to a Social Problem

    The Couple and Family Technology Framework

    Theoretical Frameworks

    The Flexibility of the CFT Framework

    “Everybody’s Doing It”: Acceptability

    “Who Are You?”: Anonymity Online

    Me and My Shadow: Accessibility

    The Ultimate Cheap Date: Affordability

    A World of Sims: Approximation


    “I Didn’t Technically Touch Them So It Doesn’t Count”: Ambiguity

    The Couple and Family Technology Framework in Action



    Chapter 8 Strengthening Roles, Rules, and Boundaries







    Chapter 9 Improving Relationship Launches, Runtime, and Crashes

    Relational Intelligence in a Digital World

    Relationship Formation

    “To Swipe or Not to Swipe”

    Being Facebook Official

    First Comes Love, Then Comes Meeting

    Relationship Maintenance

    Development Across the Couple Lifespan

    Technology’s Contribution to Relationship Satisfaction

    Intimacy Development in Relationships With and Without Technology

    Building Intimacy Through Self-Disclosure

    Relationship Termination

    To Block or Not to Block



    Chapter 10 Debugging Advanced Internet-Based Relational Problems

    Decoding Technology and Relationship Error Messages

    Out-of-Control Technology-Related Behaviors


    Sexual Technologies

    Video and Online Gaming

    Relational Power-Ups

    Relational Challenge Mode

    Action Point: A Case of Out-of-Control Online Gaming Behaviors

    What the Tech Do We Do?

    You Have Nothing to Fear, but Fear Itself

    Winning Over Video Gaming Issues

    Managing Out-of-Control Technology-Related Behaviors



    Chapter 11 Measuring Technology’s Impact on Relational Life

    Assessment of Internet Impact in Daily Life: The Chicken or the Egg?

    My Problem Is You(Tube)

    Measuring “Addictive”/Compulsive Internet Use

    Measurement Tools

    What’s in a Name?

    Measuring Online Sexual Behavior

    The Rebirth of Slick: The Couple and Family Technology Assessment Revised



    Chapter 12 Developing Your Personal Technology Integration Plan With the Couple and Family Algorithm

    Technology Integration Plan

    1. Consider the Audience

    2. Maximize the Benefits

    3. Consider the Motivations

    Integration Ideas for Structure (Roles, Rules, Boundaries)

    Boundary Tip 1: Check Your Email—Don’t Let Your Email Check You

    Boundary Tip 2: Cover Your Private Parts (or Privacy Management)

    Rule Tip 1: Develop a Rule for Your Family on Collective Privacy Management

    Initiating Relationships

    Rule Tip 1: Recognition of Gatekeeping in Online Dating

    Rule Tip 2: Recognition of the “Eight As”

    Maintaining Relationships

    Intimacy Tip 1: Electronic Fantasy Dates

    Intimacy Tip 2: Using Asynchronous Methods to Manage Conflict

    Intimacy Tip 3: Using Synchronous

    Methods to Obtain Support

    Intimacy Tip 4: Ensure Online Friends Are Offline Friends as Well

    Trust Tip 1: Recovering From Online Infidelity

    Trust Tip 2: Managing Surveillance

    Ending Relationships

    Termination Tip 1: “Give Up The Ghost”

    Termination Tip 2: Using the Benefits of the Internet to Structure Interactions

    Online Behavior and Children: Some Guidelines

    Rule Tip 1: When Should My Child Be Granted a Cellphone?

    Case in Point: A Tale of Two Kiddies

    Rule Tip 2: Boundaries and Rules for Safeguarding Against Cyberbullying





    [can be accessed at www.routledge.com/9781138478053]

    Appendix A: Ecological Elements Questionnaire

    Appendix B: General Technological Focused Genogram Questions

    Appendix C: Couple and Family Technology Focused Genogram Questions

    Appendix D: Questions for Consideration Across an Electronic Developmental Lifespan



    Katherine M. Hertlein, PhD, LMFT, is a Professor in the Couple and Family Therapy Program in the School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and has published eight books on couple and family therapy.

    Markie L. C. Twist, PhD, LMFT, LHMC, CSE, is the Program Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Sex Therapy and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Wisconsin.


    "The new member of the family, technology, is getting older and agile; this member of the family moves fast like a chameleon embedding itself in the psychology of everyday life and the way couples and families do, feel, and think. This book is a must for clinicians trying to understand and map the ways technology and families intensify whatever is happening while also attending at the myriad ways in which we are changing. The book is packed with ways of thinking contextually and relationally about technology: how it can enrich relationships as well as push couples and families into new conundrums. The research in this area is still evolving and the book is ambitious at synthesizing for those that need the scientific and clinical evidence. For clinicians, the continuous synthesis, and the "aha moments" about how new media and emerging technology shape us all are everywhere in the book. The sections within the book are just a wonderful collection of the ways to reconstruct anew what families often see as unresolvable conundrums. I love the titles of the various sections and can see how they can help us all map a territory continuously changing. What may make us dizzy and what may also fascinate us is the rapid change. For some, then the need is to try to control the situation; our esteemed authors are calling for taking a curious journey rather than a set of guidelines to control the rather beautiful and sometimes threatening technological chameleon."

    Gonzalo Bacigalupe, EdD, MPH, Professor, Department of Counseling and School Psychology, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts, Boston


    "The Internet has reached a central place in interpersonal dynamics – and our personal lives are not exempt from this influence. Our children are growing with technologies unknown a decade ago, challenging the ways in which clinicians can help. Drs. Katherine Hertlein and Markie Twist are both scholars, but more importantly, they are both family therapists – and that shows in every single page of this book. Rather than focusing on lengthy theoretical debates, this book presents numerous examples and practical tools, and proposes frameworks readily usable by clinicians. To those interested in how the new technologies of communication are affecting human relationships, this text provides a set of maps to help navigate the waters of the Internet."

    Matthieu J. Guitton, PhD, FRAI, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada, and Editor-in-Chief of Computers in Human Behavior 


    "Perhaps no other factor has altered the family landscape in the 21st century more than the rise of technology. In this remarkable book, Katherine Hertlein and Markie Twist provide a comprehensive, empirically-based, and balanced synthesis of how technology has influenced couple and family interactions including parenting, communication patterns, and the development of intimate relationships. Moving beyond a mere description of dynamics, they offer a framework for working with families around issues related to technology as well as practical suggestions for navigating the terrain. Scholars and therapists will welcome this cutting edge volume on the intersection of families and technology."

    Dale Hawley, PhD, Director, Marriage and Family Therapy Program and Professor for Human Development and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menonomie