The role of digital technologies during relationship breakdowns

Moncur, Wendy and Gibson, Lorna and Herron, Daniel; (2016) The role of digital technologies during relationship breakdowns. In: Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing, CSCW 2016. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW . ACM, USA, pp. 371-382. ISBN 9781450335928 (

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Relationship breakdowns are undoubtedly difficult. Access to and use of technology can exacerbate the situation. In our networked society, shared lives generate vast amounts of shared digital data which can be difficult to untangle, whilst social media can provide an outlet to emotions that can take a public and often persistent form. In this paper, we report on a qualitative study that considered the role of technology in the process of a relationship breaking down. Four main themes emerged in our findings: communicating about the separation, change in social status, shared digital assets, and moving on. Opportunities for design are identified in reducing misunderstandings via CMCs, enhancing social media, supporting intimacy in distributed families, and refining service provision.