Have you heard of Technoference? Chances are you might not have. It is a term used to highlight how our obsessive dependence on technology is interfering with our lives. Scientists say how the usage of gadgetry and involvement in the virtual world can set off a chain of negative events leading to more conflict about technology, lower relationship quality, lower life satisfaction and higher risk of depression and in some cases death.

 

Bengaluru murder Shruti Gowda

 

A recent Bengaluru murder highlights how technology and our misuse of the same in some way was involved in ruining a relationship. A husband found that his wife was cheating on him firstly, by checking her Whatsapp messages and secondly he traced his wife’s whereabouts by tracking her through a GPS that he installed in her car without her knowledge. Using the GPS he found his wife with another man and then in a fit of rage shot him. The woman shocked by the turn of events committed suicide.

 

Also read: Woman hangs self after husband kills alleged lover

 

Even social networking is involved in this revenge crime. The dead duo has been alleged to have grown closer because the lawyer and she shared a love for fast bikes. Their interactions on Facebook revolved around that mostly.

 

Now this is one of the many cases where a relationship broke due to the intervention of technology. No, we are not saying that the man should have continued to be cuckolded (if that is the case) but somehow three children lost their parents because of this.

 

 

With the coming of smartphones couples spend half their time speaking in limited characters (messages, Whatsapp, chats) and most of the time, it may not be with each other. This becomes a vicious circle where people are trapped in letting technology interfere, even in small ways, in one's relationship. In most cases it causes disagreements, disputes and doubt which can begin to slowly erode the quality of their relationship.

 

Mistrust begins to rise because of this. Spouses are constantly checking each other’s social networks, tracking their expenditure, checking each other’s call records, analysing body language and tracking each other’s movements to derive affirmation of the respective other’s fidelity. Password-protected phones and the option to delete discreet chat give people the false assurance that they are safe from being found out. But the virtual footprints are being used to expose the cheating spouse. Here is an example of how a man caught his wife cheating: Watch: Man catches cheating wife with drone.

 

Allowing technology to interfere and take over our lives ends up in us indirectly prioritising the digital and virtual world (Whatsapp, Facebook and other social networking) over our significant other. Nowadays whenever anyone has any relationship trouble they seek to air it on public forums through cryptic notes and even suicides are being broadcast over social media! Why? Because that is where someone will actually take notice, while in the real world they are ignored. On Google there is no dearth for relationship advice, people will read these articles by the dozen and analyse their love life but not use the old ‘talk it out’ method.

 

 

Here are some examples of how couples are using modern technology to compensate for lack of human interaction. In 2015, hardly 10 days after his wedding, an NRI man from Kerala sent his 21-year-old wife a triple Talaq message from Dubai on WhatsApp. In 2014, a Saudi man divorced his wife apparently because she ignored the messages he had sent her on WhatsApp despite having read them. The husband, who is said to be in his 30s, was irritated by his wife using her phone to talk with her friends and family and not answer his messages.

 

In a 2010 survey done by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that four out of five lawyers reported an increasing number of divorce cases citing evidence derived from social networking sites in the past five years, with Facebook being the market leader. That might be America but the case is no different in India, just add in more social networking sites to this list.

 

 

In short, people have stopped working on their marriages and are using technology to end it. We are slowly losing the human touch. While earlier only the tone of our voices betrayed our emotions, now a misconstrued message or an email or a photograph or post can lead to misunderstanding, divorces and deaths.

 

Already our lives in this fast-paced competitive world has made it difficult for working couples to communicate face-to-face; with large homes, each retreats to their own corner. Ultimately, a family gets to know of developments in each other’s lives through the smartphone or through social media networks. Where are the good old days where we talked face to face with our spouses, family or friends? The personal domain is now seen in the virtual world.