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ICT not only influences all stages of relationships and family formation, it also has an impact on existing families: Digital media can shape intergenerational interactions and relationships.ICT use is often a source of intergenerational conflicts due to the negative correlations between high frequency of ICTs use among children and adolescents and family cohesion.

The impact on the various stages of relationships is systematized (relationship development, couple and family formation, separation) with a special focus on intergenerational opportunities and conflicts associated with modern media usage.

Against the background of psychological and media communication theories and psychotherapeutic approaches as well as empirical findings the following topics are considered: (1) (e.g. In summary, the role of ICTs in new, existing and separated partnerships and families is multifaceted.

The purpose of this paper is to describe and systematize concepts of internet initiated relationships, the impact of ICTs on relationship development and existing partnerships (e.g.

marriage, separation, long-distance intimacy) as well as on modern forms of family formation and existing families (e.g. The following research questions are considered against the background of psychological and media communication theories and psychotherapeutic considerations; empirical findings are summarized as well.

Online-relationships are seen as deceptive and non-binding and they create unrealistic expectations due to the potential idealization of the counterpart as an “optimal partner” (ibid.).

Other authors emphasize the predominance of a strongly cognitive orientation to assess a person’s matching characteristics on the basis of comprehensive information (Geser and Bühler ), although many of these risks also exist with offline dating contacts.What new opportunities are opening up, and what are the internet-related challenges that have to be faced by couples today?How effective are online interventions for partnership problems?There are many advantages of online dating: (1) geographically and temporally independent partner search, (2) people with the same interests can be more easily found by means of precise selection criteria, (3) more control of self-representation and (4) facilitation of the primary initiation of numerous relationships (Eichenberg ).However, disadvantages are also discussed and risks are investigated.From the very early stages of initiating relationships to post-break-up behaviors, information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the potential to play an influential role in all areas of couple and family relationships.

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