Understanding the role social and digital media play in these romantic relationships is critical, given how deeply enmeshed these technology tools are in lives of American youth and how rapidly these platforms and devices change. This study reveals that the digital realm is one part of a broader universe in which teens meet, date and break up with romantic partners. Online spaces are used infrequently for meeting romantic partners, but play a major role in how teens flirt, woo and communicate with potential and current flames.
The survey was conducted online from Sept. The main findings from this research include: Of those who have met a partner online, the majority met on social media sites, and the bulk of them met on Facebook.
Social media is a top venue for flirting While most teen romantic relationships do not start online, technology is a major vehicle for flirting and expressing interest in a potential partner.
But while some of these behaviors are at least relatively common among dating neophytes, others are almost entirely engaged in by teens with prior relationship experience. Flirting or talking to them in person: Friending them or taking part in general interactions on social media: Sharing funny or interesting things with them online.
On the other hand, more advanced and sometimes overtly sexually suggestive online behaviors are most often exhibited by teens who have prior experience in romantic relationships: Girls are more likely to be targets of uncomfortable flirting tactics Not all flirting behavior is appreciated or appropriate. Just as adult women are often subject to more frequent and intense harassment online, teen girls are substantially more likely than boys to experience uncomfortable flirting within social media environments.
However, even teens who indicate that social media has played a role in their relationship whether for good or for bad tend to feel that its role is relatively modest in the grand scheme of things. Yet they also find it allows too many people to be involved in their personal business For some teens, social media is a space where they can display their relationship to others by publicly expressing their affection on the platform.
As noted above, teen daters say social media makes them feel like they have a place to show how much they care about their boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other. Many teens in romantic relationships expect daily communication with their significant other Most teens in romantic relationships assume that they and their partner will check in with each other with great regularity throughout the day.
Texting, voice calls and in-person hanging out are the main ways teens spend time with their significant others When it comes to spending time with a significant other, teens say texting is the top method, but phone calling and in-person time mix with other digital means for staying in touch.
Asked how often they spent time with their current or former boyfriend, girlfriend or significant other on particular platforms, teen daters told us they use: Text messaging — which is widely viewed as one of the least acceptable ways of breaking up with someone — is more common in the context of actual relationships than its perceived acceptability might indicate. In this study, we asked teen daters about a number of things they might have done online or with a phone to someone they were dating or used to date.
These behaviors fall on a spectrum of seriousness, from potentially innocuous to troubling. A small share of teen daters have experienced potentially abusive or controlling behavior by a current or former partner Beyond perpetrating potentially inappropriate or harmful behavior, teen daters also can be the recipients of —possibly more serious — controlling or potentially abusive experiences at the hands of significant others.
And like the practices our survey respondents told us they engaged in above, these behaviors and experiences are in some cases dependent on context of the interaction.
During a relationship teens are most likely to experience: Potentially controlling and harmful behaviors teens experience both during and after a relationship with similar frequency 3: After a relationship ends, teens are more likely to experience: