Teens in our focus group explained the way digital communication platforms – social media as well as texting – can enhance and expand on in-person meetings.
One high school girl noted: “I feel like it helps to develop a relationship because even if you meet someone in person, you can’t see them all the time or talk to them all the time to get to know them, so you text them or message them to get to know them better.”“My boyfriend isn’t shy … And it gets easier for him to tell me everything in person, but when we’re …
On the other hand, there are no differences between boys and girls on the question of whether their partner is less authentic on social media than they are in real life.
For a substantial minority of teens, social media offers a space to publicly express affection or solidarity with their romantic partner.
But a substantial minority feel that their partner acts differently – in positive or negative ways — on social media than he or she does in real life.
Among the 31% of teens who are “teen daters” who use social media: Girls are more likely to “strongly disagree” with the notion that their partner shows a different side of themselves on social media than they do offline: 13% of girls strongly disagree with this statement, compared with just 4% of boys.
Among teens with relationship experience: Beyond publicly displaying affection and one’s own relationship, social media is a space where many teens can express public support or approval of others’ romantic relationships: 63% of teens with dating experience have posted or liked something on social media as a way to indicate their support of one of their friends’ relationships.
As a high school boy related, people in relationships change “You’ve got to put the date in the bio and her in the bio. Fully 69% of teen social media users with dating experience agree that too many people can see what’s happening in their relationship on social media, with 16% indicating that they “strongly” agree.Many teens in relationships view social media as a place where they can feel more connected with the daily contours of their significant other’s life, share emotional connections and let their significant other know they care – although these sites can also lead to feelings of jealousy or uncertainty about the stability of one’s relationship.At the same time, even teens who indicate that social media has had an impact on their relationship (whether for good or for bad) tend to feel that its impact is relatively modest in the grand scheme of things.Just 31% of such teens disagree with this statement, and only a small percentage (2%) disagree “strongly.” Boys and girls, older and younger teens, and those from higher- and lower-income households are equally likely to agree with this statement.Teens in our focus groups explained their concerns about people being overly involved, especially in breakups, and their discomfort with the permanence of posted content.