Smartphones, tablets and internet killing Irish marriages and family life, warns expert

Forget affairs or simply falling out of love, technology is the biggest factor in the breakdown of Irish marriages, it's claimed.

Family psychologist and UCD lecturer, Dr John Sharry, maintains the overuse of smartphones, tablets and the internet is having a devastating impact on relationships - and our sex lives.

Worryingly, our must-have gadgets are also ruining family life and the bonds between parents and their children.

Dr Sharry's warnings are supported by counselling body Relationships Ireland, which claims 90% of couples seeking its help say technology is a big factor in their marriage troubles.

He told the Irish Daily Mail: "People are spending more time online and less with their partner. They used to spend more time talking with one another.

"Instead of a screen, they'd make do with a real world relationship and therefore they'd be happier with that.

"I think it's a big problem families now have. You might have parents on devices and not really talking to one another.

"You might have Mum watching a soap on the telly, the daughter's in her room on YouTube, Dad checking his 'phone for messages.

"It is eroding relationships, this over-excessive use of screen time, non-talking. That's having an impact on the families I see where they're talking less to one another, struggling to find time."

His advice is to turn off and relax when at home in the evening - and warns if people ignore that, their relationships will suffer.

He added: "There's evidence that people have less sex or less time for affection and so forth [due to technology over use]."

Marriage counselling service Accord told the paper that 17% of couples who came to them for help in 2015, said internet/technology use was affecting their marriages, that's up from just 4% in 2007.