The Telegraph recently ran a story entitled, “Facebook Fuelling Divorce” in which it was suggested that the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Bebo is tempting people to cheat on their partners. According to Divorce-Online, a law firm specialising in divorce, Facebook is referenced in some one in five divorce petitions. Apparently spouses are using the site to flirt, get in touch with old flames and strike up new, potentially sexual relationships.
“The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to,” said Mark Keenan, managing director of Divorce-Online.
However, as JR Raphael of the Today @ PC World blog correctly points out, we’re not cheating more because of such sites: “The problem is faithless spouses too stupid to realize they’re leaving an electronic trail.”
Studies show that social networks aren’t screwing up our moral compasses any more than they were already screwed up. It’s just the media through which we conduct ourselves socially that has changed. If we cheat offline, we will probably cheat online too.