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 …
At the same time, this self-presentation can sometimes appear inauthentic or phony to others.
Teens are especially attuned to this type of social curation: When it comes to teen friendships, fully 85% of teen social media users agree that social media allows people to show a side of themselves that they can’t show online.
Some 37% of teens with dating experience have used social media to tell their significant other how much they like them in a way that is visible to other people.
Teens from less well-off households, as well as those who have met a partner online, are especially likely to have done this.
Similarly 50% of boys say social media makes them feel more emotionally connected with their significant other, compared with 37% of girls.
At the same time, even among boys this impact is fairly muted: Just 16% say social media makes them feel “a lot” more connected to their significant other’s life, while just 13% feel “a lot” more emotionally close to their significant other thanks to social media.
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.
In addition, teens from less well-off households (those earning less than ,000 per year) engage in each of these behaviors at higher rates, compared with those from higher-income households.
Among lower-income teens with dating experience, 73% (compared with 59% of higher-income teens) have supported their friends’ relationships on social media, while 47% of less well-off teens (and 33% of higher-income teens) have publicly expressed affection for their own partner in a public way on social media. Or just a date,” plus your beloved’s username or profile.
Because like more people ask questions and stuff like that.” And some teens don’t post much about the relationship on social media because they’re not sure of the relationship status or they don’t want to seem like they’re bragging about their good fortune.
A high school girl explained: “Maybe they’re just not sure about it, too. I wouldn’t really know if we were in a relationship yet, so I wouldn’t say anything about it.