Why Some Use Social Networks to Spy on LoversThe widespread adoption of social media has led to an unprecedented sharing of personal information.

Sites such as Facebook serve as a clearinghouse of social interactions.

Experts say it is increasingly common for people to use the interpersonal electronic surveillance of these social networks to monitor the activities of current and former romantic partners.

They can gather information on partners anonymously, view past and current photos and audio and video clips, and look for clues to explain any “suspicious” behaviors.

A new study, found in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, examines why some individuals engage in this type of behavior more than others.

The article “Social Networking Sites in Romantic Relationships: Attachment, Uncertainty, and Partner Surveillance on Facebook,” describes a study to determine what individual characteristics might be predictive of using electronic surveillance to gather information about a romantic partner.

In the study Jesse Fox, PhD, Ohio State University, and Katie Warber, PhD, Wittenberg University, explored individual characteristics including a partner’s attachment style, the role of sex, and a partner’s level of relationship anxiety — which is likely to be higher among more preoccupied and fearful individuals.

“Prior to social networking tools, it was more difficult to monitor a former partner’s life,” says Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

“While social networking provides many positives, the ability to conduct interpersonal electronic surveillance may lead some individuals to suffer with prolonged feelings of uncertainty after a relationship ends.

‚ÄúThese results presented here should, however, be interpreted with caution, since the sample was comprised of heterosexual college students and may not extend to other groups.”

Source: Mary Ann Liebert

Social network photo by shutterstock.