Thursday, October 20, 2016

From First "Like" To Breakup Text: Teen Romances Need Technology, Study Says


From likes on a Facebook profile pic to the accidental sext that ends it all, a U.S. study finds that technology plays an integral role in teenage romances.

Remember when you could only flirt, ask someone out or break up with someone in person? Yeah, me neither. That is definitely the case for teens across the country. Nearly every step of teenage relationships is interwoven with cell phones and social media.

Lead author for the report Amanda Lenhart said digital technology acts as a powerful tool in teens' dating toolboxes. "Even as teens enjoy greater closeness with partners and a chance to display their relationships for others to see, mobile and social media can also be tools for jealousy, meddling and even troubling behavior," shesaid to the BBC.

Pew Research Center surveyed 1,060 teens between 13 to 17 years old and what they said isn't that surprising. "But it is affirming," said Julie Beck, senior editor at the Atlantic, who unpacked the results. "Humans are social animals, and we build tools to connect with each other."

Fifty percent of teensshowed interest in someone by friend-ing someone on Facebook — roughly the same number like or share something with their potential boo there. Kids who've never dated before use this as "entry-level" flirting, which could be characterized as an easy way to connect with your crush but also duck away if the sparks don't fly. 

Over a sixth of teens who've dated before will sent flirtatious messages over social media to try and hook someone in. And once they're "in like" with each other, between 85 to 90 percent of the teens expect to be in touch at least once a day — if not more.

They text (92 percent), talk over the phone (87 percent), and post and chat on social media (approximately 70 percent) to the point that 59 percent of couples feel social media keeps them better connected to their significant other's life. More boys than girls as a whole said they felt this, which might be an upside considering boys need more encouragement in showing their emotions. 

The digital sphere is also where 63 percent of teens give and get the thumbs down or up from friends, with 71 percent of girls approving of their friends' relationships.

Then again, 69 percent of them say too many people can snoop on their relationship on social media.

What if Joe and his bae need to fight? Nearly half of the "we need to talk" conversations where partners air out grievances respectfully with minimal yelling happen in front of a screen — specifically over texts or instant messaging. It's streamlined — they fight andresolve issues that way. Thankfully, most breakups are still done in person with only 27 percent of teens getting the boot through text.

But there's trade-offs for constant connectivity. A lot of it isn't pretty.

Let's start with what we've all done at least once. Forty-three percent of teens felt that their significant other spent too much time on their cell phones when they were together. Taking it a step further, just under a third of teens said that “social media makes them feel jealous or unsure about their relationship.”

Similar to the case for adult women, teen girls are more likely than teen boys to be targets for harassment with 35 percent of them blocking or unfriending someone because of frequent and intense harassment. That figure is twice what it is for boys.

It gets worse but less frequent. 

Some teens reported being on the receiving end of abusive or controlling behavior from their partner. Twenty-one percent of them said their significant other had read their texts without their permission and then 11 percent said their ex or even who they were with now had threatened them over the phone.

What digital spaces are not used for is blind dating. Teen couples don't use it to strike up something out of the blue; instead it's a tool where they woo and win, ignore and eventually screw up their relationships. Understanding the teenage generation who grew up with tech at their fingertips gives us a window into how they'll interact with future partners.

Main image via The Atlantic | Edgard Garrido / Reuters

Collage image via Youth Health Magazine | MedicalDaily 


Author: verified_user