New Study Shows Impact of Technology on Relationships

Technology and human relationships

It’s no surprise that technology can have a negative impact on relationships. But David Schramm, an assistant professor and Extension family life specialist at Utah State University, is particularly interested in how technology interferes with two of the most important spaces for interaction and connection – in the bed and at the table.

Schramm, also known as USU relationship specialist “Dr. Dave,” believes that technology will inevitably creep into nearly every aspect of our lives. That’s why he is on a mission to safeguard these two important areas that must be consciously protected to help strengthen couple and parent-child relationships. According to him, these places should be considered off-limits when it comes to technology use.

To understand how technology use interferes with face-to-face interactions, Schramm conducted a survey of 631 parents across the United States, aged between 21 and 60. He asked several questions related to technology use, and as part of the survey, he created the initiatives K-TOOB (Kick Technology Out of Beds) and K-TOOT (Kick Technology Off of Tables). These initiatives are meant to strengthen relationships between couples and between parents and children.

The survey findings reveal that 75% of those surveyed believe that K-TOOB is a good idea, while 88% agree that K-TOOT is a good idea. Additionally, 88% agree that technoference is a big problem in our society, with 62% of those surveyed believing it is a big problem in their family. 70% reported that technology interrupts family time at least occasionally.

In terms of relationships, 45% consider technology a big problem in their marriage. The survey also found that more than one-third of adults use technology in their bed every night or almost every night, while 43% report that their spouse/partner does the same. This may be why nearly 25% feel like their partner’s use of technology in bed interferes with their sexual relationship.

Furthermore, 55% feel like their spouse/partner spends too much time on their cell phone, and 48% wish their significant other would spend less time on their cell phone and more time with their children. Meanwhile, 53% believe they personally are on their cell phone too much, and 59% believe their spouse or partner is on it too much.

The survey also highlighted that six out of ten adults are concerned about the influence technology has on their relationship with their children. Additionally, nearly one out of four wish they had more information about technology and parenting but don’t know where to turn.

Lastly, 38% of adults admit to using technology at least occasionally while eating at home with family members. This only drops slightly to 35% who report using technology while eating at a restaurant with their spouse or partner at least occasionally.

Overall, the survey results indicate that higher levels of technology use and technoference result in significantly less time spent together as a couple, less satisfaction and connection, and higher levels of depression and anxiety.

When asked if he has advice for the upcoming holidays, Schramm said, “Talk more, use your phone less, and be where you are.”

Table of Contents


Q: What is technoference?
A: Technoference refers to the way technology use interferes with face-to-face interactions with others.

Q: What are K-TOOB and K-TOOT initiatives?
A: K-TOOB stands for Kick Technology Out of Beds, while K-TOOT stands for Kick Technology Off of Tables. These initiatives are designed to strengthen relationships between couples and between parents and children by setting boundaries around technology use in specific spaces.

Q: How does technology impact relationships?
A: According to the survey findings, technology use can lead to less time spent together as a couple, lower levels of satisfaction and connection, and higher levels of depression and anxiety.

Q: What can individuals do to mitigate the negative impact of technology on relationships?
A: Schramm advises people to talk more, use their phones less, and be present in the moment.


Technology has undoubtedly become a pervasive presence in our lives, impacting various aspects, including our relationships. As the survey findings suggest, setting boundaries around technology use in spaces like the bed and the table can help strengthen couple and parent-child relationships. By being aware of how technology interferes with face-to-face interactions and taking steps to mitigate its negative effects, individuals can cultivate healthier and more meaningful connections with their loved ones. So, let’s prioritize real-life interactions and make conscious efforts to maintain a healthy balance between technology and our relationships.

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