TYLER, TX (KLTV) It's become part of our everyday life. In just the click of a mouse, the Internet connects us to anything and everything around us. The largest impact it's had is the way we connect with each other. In the past decade, social networks, like Facebook and myspace, have shaped relationships in an unimaginable way.
With the world at your fingertips, there's no one you can't find. "You can keep in touch with people that you don't see that much like old friends you went to high school with...even my little brother's got one, he's like 9," said Wayne Harmon, a Facebook user.
One of the pitfalls is getting tangled in the world wide web. "I would say almost every single person that we come in contact with, that has some sort of marital or infidelity issue, the Internet has some sort of role in it," said Doug Clark, the Senior Pastor at Grace Community Church. "It can be the portal to all kinds of break-ups of marriages, break-ups of relationships," added Nicole Babineau, a Tyler resident.
Social networks, like Facebook and myspace, allow people to connect and share information across cities, countries, and the world. People use these tools to find old friends and even old flames.
"[My] family was like, 'You have to get on. You have to connect so we can share our lives.' So, I did it for that purpose, but then with that, came intense temptation," said Su Nejame, a Tyler resident.
Some of our most personal information is shared online. People post pictures, interests, and even thoughts on the web. "We would all like to believe they go on innocently looking for a friend, information, but a lot of times, it ends up turning into something much more passionate," said Kelly Heitkamp, a family law attorney.
Heitkamp says she's seen the effects of what Internet relationships can do to marriages. When asked what percentage of her clients actually broke-up or had problems because of Facebook, Heitkamp responded, "I would say Facebook accounts probably play a role in 90% of the cases we have, both divorces and child custody battles."
So, if the Internet is a permanent part of our culture, where we can learn about others and develop relationships, some say a line should be drawn. "If an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend wants to friend you on Facebook, I would be very very hesitant to do that. That is my personal philosophy," said Clark. Nejame added, "For us, it's an open door. My kids can get on to my account. My husband can get on to my account. I can get on to theirs."
"Facebook is certainly not the cause of people having affairs, it is just the avenues that they go," said Heitkamp.