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Some 35% of teens have some type of experience in a romantic relationship, a figure that includes current and former daters, as well as those in serious and less-serious relationships. Teens also spoke about social media as an information-gathering tool that helps them find out all sorts of information about a potential partner, like whether they are dating someone or not.Among teens with dating experience, 76% say they have never dated someone they first met online, but one-in-four (24%) have dated or hooked up with someone they initially encountered online. Many teens in our focus groups described flirting with a crush by liking their photos or posting a comment on their social media profile.But even as text messaging and social media play a pronounced role in all other aspects of teen life, teens feel strongly that an in-person conversation -- or at worst, a phone call -- is the most socially acceptable way to break up with someone.Teens in our focus groups generally agreed that breaking up with a partner over text messaging or social media illustrates a lack of maturity on the part of the person who is ending the relationship.Others mentioned how text-based communication can help them overcome the shyness they sometimes experience in person or give them time to come up with the perfect response during conversation. You know, so that kind of made me mad, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to act clingy or whatever. Teens also described other negative aspects of technology in romantic relationships, such as surveillance that leads to jealousy, as well as arguments between partners that play out publicly on social media for all to see.I think texting kind of makes you feel closer because boys are more shy. But when we text, it seems like it’s so much easier for him to talk to me. About a quarter – 27% – of teens with dating experience have had a partner use social media to track their whereabouts, and 27% of teens with dating experience say social media makes them feel jealous or unsure of their relationship.S., over 100 teens shared with us their personal experiences with social media and romantic relationships. During the focus groups, technology – and especially social media – often was described as an integral part of the courting process for teens.
Some teens in our focus groups mentioned that their communication choices often evolve with the intensity and duration of their relationships.
In our focus groups, teens discussed some of the potential negative effects of documenting their romantic relationships on social media, which ranged from increased drama to a general loss of privacy.
A lot of people kind of don’t like it on social media because it doesn’t need to be on there.
I don’t know about other people, but for me, like, I personally hate hurting people and seeing them getting sad because of something I did to hurt them. So I guess that’s why lots of people just keep it to text.
So for me, I mean, I know it’s not the best thing, but usually over text I just ... And usually breaking up is really a hard thing for me. I still feel bad about it, but usually texting is just better for me. They don’t have to deal with, like, seeing the person’s face when they break up with them.