For two and a half decades Jill Goldson has been picking through the dramas of the families and couples who come to her for help. Over that time the Auckland counsellor and family mediator has identified four issues that come up again and again as a source of relationship friction: money, sex, parenting styles and the inlaws.
But very recently, probably less than two years ago, Goldson started to notice a new cause of conflict steadily working its way up the ranks to take a place alongside the Big Four: smartphones.
The same sleek glowing oblongs that have transformed the way we read our news, order our cabs, talk to friends and do our jobs, are also changing the ways we can fall out of love, fail as parents and drive each other crazy. Tablets and laptops and old-fashioned desktop computers are part of the problem, but the sheer power, portability and ubiquity of the smartphone in your back pocket has made it the new public enemy number one.