Is WhatsApp Saving Your Love Life?
By Marc Gordon - March 23, 2023

We’ve all heard, on innumerable occasions, how technology is bad for you. People from older generations can’t seem to stress enough how life was better in their good old days when technology, mobile phones especially, did not exist. Well, recent research has shown that technology may not be all that bad.

Unlike Gen Z and millennials, Generation X (people born between 1965 – 1980) were not born into technology. Despite their lack of interest in the internet and devices, a new study published in the journal of New Media and Society claims that for Gen X, WhatsApp might be highly beneficial due to its capacity to provide private cyberspace to fight in, replacing traditional face-to-face confrontations.

The research was from Reichman University in Israel, where the researchers studied the behavior of Gen X couples who use WhatsApp to facilitate their interpersonal contact and communication. The findings revealed that WhatsApp proved highly beneficial when used as a platform to fight with tight privacy as no one can see or hear you fighting over chats. It provides them with a different space to explore their relationship, positively or negatively.

Another fascinating takeaway from this study was that it showed how we could see similar conflict management patterns in WhatsApp conversations as the couples might have when in real-life conflict scenarios. This finding was reconfirmed by asking clinical psychologists and John Gottman, a mathematician, to verify the accuracy of how consistently the cyber behaviors match general conflict resolution tendencies in humans and their consequent frequency levels.

There are several kinds of behaviors people exhibit in conflict situations. Some are avoiders who like to avoid the person after conflict. These people avoided the person on WhatsApp as well and talked to other people or engaged in other activities instead. Others become more emotive as they pour their feelings that had been piling on for a while. This behavior seemed to translate to their cyber conflicts as well, where they sent voice notes or long texts that gave the other person a detailed description of their feelings and thought process.