Spouses Play Online Spy Games

    April 8, 2008

Twenty percent of married Internet users in the UK have admitted to reading their spouses emails and text messages according to a survey from Oxford University.

A majority of respondents (94%) disapproved of their partners having cyber-sex, while 88 percent disapproved of sharing personal information about the other partner online. Flirting online was unpopular with 85 percent of married Internet users. Discussing relationship problems to others was frowned upon by 89 percent.

There was general agreement between partners about the level of acceptable online behaviors within their relationship.  There was disagreement within 46 percent of couples about the acceptability of a partner viewing "adult" sites, with men being more likely to accept this in their partner than women.

Ten percent of married Internet users said that the Internet was "somewhat or extremely important" in maintaining their relationships. Nineteen percent exchanged messages with their partner at least weekly via email and 14 percent through online chats.

Face-to-face communication was cited as the best way for married Internet users to discuss personal matters and resolve problems, but other ways were also used, including the telephone (51% of users), text messaging (27% of users), and email (14% of users). Eighty-one percent said they never used email to discuss personal matters