Face-to-Face or Facebook?
The latest global study from AVG Technologies reveals the extent to which women are using technology to manage their love lives
Traditionally, women are often considered to be more emotionally sensitive than men, and more likely to want to discuss relationships face-to-face. But thanks to the rise of mobile devices and social media, combined with time- and career-pressures unrecognizable to their grandmothers, today’s digitally-savvy women are increasingly turning to technology to help them form and manage their relationships remotely, rather than relying on first-person contact.
The study, in which AVG Technologies questioned 4,000 women in the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Brazil, found that technology is now integral to the dating process for many women from the very beginning, with more than a third now using social media to research a date in advance. And when it comes to splitting up, more than half of the women surveyed said they either had already broken off a relationship using their phone or would do so.
That women are increasingly relying on social media to research potential suitors is no surprise, but the extent to which it is used – almost 35 per cent now use social media to check out dates ahead of time – confirms that it’s never been more important carefully manage your online presence if you’re looking for love. Indeed, the proportion of women using social media to research a date rises to 44 per cent among the 18-24 year-olds, but exactly a third of 45-54 year-olds said they’d do the same.
Digging deeper into the survey data reveals that US women are the most prolific users of social media to screen suitors, with almost half (47 per cent) researching a date online before going out with them. Across all countries and age ranges, women were most interested in a potential partner’s Facebook photos when it comes to social media, followed by any shared Facebook friends, and then their profile and comments. Interestingly, while more than 16 per cent of US women would also inspect a date’s Twitter history, only 3 per cent of French women would do so.
As for the consequences, the survey reveals that more than a third (35 per cent) of women have previously cancelled a date based on information they’ve discovered online. Although the regional data is less conclusive, Brazilian women appear to most ready to pre-empt a dating disaster, with a huge 61 per cent of the respondents cancelling up front thanks to social research.
Just as technology is playing an increasingly important role in the dating process, so too are women using it to end their relationships when they’re ready to move on. Globally, more than half (53 per cent) of those surveyed either have already broken up with a partner with a phone call (25 per cent) or would do so (28 per cent). The tactic is most popular among 18-34 year-olds (61 per cent), but a still-substantial 45 per cent 45-54 year-old respondents would do the same, proving it’s not just the young who are becoming less concerned with delivering such news face-to-face. Regionally-speaking, US women are the most likely to dump their partner over the phone (62 per cent).
Continuing the theme of remote break-ups, more than a quarter of the women surveyed either have already ended a relationship via a text message (15 per cent) or would do so (13 per cent). The combined figures for breaking up via email were 23 per cent, followed by Facebook at 14 per cent. Young women aged 18-24 are the most likely demographic to use a text to split up (38 per cent) or to simply log-in to Facebook to do the deed (19 per cent). Curiously, although only 12 per cent of French women would end a relationship using Facebook, more than half (53 per cent) of them would be happy to do so over the phone.
Sex vs. Tech
This could be due to French women having a comparatively more traditional attitude towards technology, privacy and matters of the heart – only 18 per cent of them look at messages on their partner’s smartphone or tablet, and just 16 per cent allow their partner to look at their own messages. They’re also the least likely to choose to give up sex for a week if favor of their device, with 60 per cent deciding to relinquish their smartphone or tablet over intimacy with their partner.
Conversely, Brazilian women are the most prolific snoopers, with 54 per cent of them admitting to reading messages on their partner’s devices and 53 per cent of their partners reciprocating. Meanwhile, fewer than half (44 per cent) of the Brazilian women that could decide between sex or their device chose to give up their smartphone or tablet, suggesting that they’re perhaps slightly less passionate than certain stereotypes might suggest.
Irrespective of the specific demographic or regional differences, it’s clear that technology is already playing a significant role in today’s relationships, and that women are using social media and mobile innovations to streamline their love lives and empower their decision-making. It’s also clear that anyone who wants to maximize their dating success should pay close attention to their online presence. At the very least, it’s worth choosing a good profile picture because looks are evidently just as important to women as they are to men…
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An online survey of 4,000 females was undertaken across the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Brazil. The survey was set up using Qualtrics and respondents were from Qualtrics’ online panel. Fieldwork took place in April 2013.
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