China divorce: ‘he just played with his phone’ — mobile addiction causing up to 30 per cent of failed marriages, say counsellors
- China’s divorce rate rose from 2 cases per 1,000 people in 2010 to 3.4 per 1,000 in 2019, before dropping to 3.1 per 1,000 people in 2020
- However, public opinion is divided on how significant a factor mobile phone use is in causing divorces
Mobile phone addiction is responsible for up to 30 per cent of failed marriages in China, claim some marriage counsellors.
“Playing with mobile phones has occupied a great deal of people’s time which should be used to communicate with partners, perform household duties or educate kids. But spending too much time on phones has led to many couples experiencing conflict,” Kang Lanying, a senior marital conflict mediator in Wuhan, Hubei province, central China, told the Yangtze Daily.
“Mobile phone addiction has led to a lack of communication between husbands and wives. The party who spends too much time on their phone doesn’t share the housework and doesn’t care about the other person. All these problems have eventually led to their divorce,” Cao said.
Cao said it is a form of domestic violence, known as cold violence, when a person spends all their time on their mobile phone and neglects their partner and household duties.
China’s divorce rate rose from 2 cases per 1,000 people in 2010 to 3.4 per 1,000 in 2019, before dropping to 3.1 per 1,000 people in 2020. The surging divorce rate prompted the authorities to introduce a controversial 30-day cooling-off period last year.
Cao said she once helped a woman who said she applied for divorce as she felt a sense of “suffocation” at home and didn’t feel any warmth.
“He didn’t care about me, our kid, or our home. He just played with his mobile phone as soon as he got home from work, and would do nothing else. I asked him to help me do the housework, but he didn’t respond,” the woman told Cao. “I can not accept this deathly stillness.”
Her husband said he didn’t think he did anything wrong because he returned home every day after work. “I just surfed on the internet, checked social media, read news, and played games on my mobile,” said the man.
He rejected Cao’s suggestion and refused to reduce the time he spent on his mobile phone.
Mainland internet users are divided over the claims of mobile phones being a significant factor in driving up divorces.
“Couples don’t have love between them any longer. Don’t use the mobile as an excuse for their break-up,” wrote one person on Weibo.
But another person said, “Exactly! Playing games and watching videos on mobile phones really takes up a lot of time. As a result, people don’t have any spare time or energy to think about other things.”