Social Networks Blamed for Chinese Divorce

Social Networks Blamed for Chinese Divorce Social Networks Blamed for Chinese Divorce

The mass adoption of social media across China is responsible for the rising rate of divorce, new research claims.

The divorce rate in China has been steadily rising since 2004, according to statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In 2012, 3.1 million couples divorced or 23.4% of the population, compared to 4.7% in 1979. The rate was close to or over 30% in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and other big cities in 2013.

Couples surveyed for the study, published in Chinese magazine Banyuetan, said the presence of social media in their lives had not brought them closer and in some cases, had made matters worse bringing the relationship to an end, reports Daily Mail.

Chinese social media APP WeChat, which is based on a free messaging service similar to What’sApp, has 468 million active users per month. Other less popular sites with comparable functions, such as Momo, have 100 million users.

This mobile-led, social media phenomenon has meant that it has never been easier to reach out to people, a temptation that can be a destabilizing distraction for some marriages and fatal for others, said the report.

“I would never use social software in front of my husband because it would cause too many arguments,” Liu Yun, one participant, said.

Liu, a massage therapist in her mid 20s and mother to a seven-year-old daughter, said she often felt “bored to tears” and that idle chat with random people she encountered on social networks kept her entertained. Some experts have posited different explanation for the rising divorce rate.

Li Hongxiang, a professor of law in Jinlin University, said that people in China today do not think of marriage as “until death do us apart.” A weakening idea of marriage had led to more divorces. He also pointed out a marriage registration regulation passed in 2003 has made it easier to get civil divorce.