Virtual dating for teens
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.
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: The most socially acceptable way to break up with someone is by having an in-person conversation, and these conversations are the most common way that breakups occur in a “real-world” setting.
While most teens rate an in-person talk as the most acceptable way to break up with someone, some 62% of teens with relationship experience have broken up with someone in person, and 47% have been broken up with through an in-person discussion.
Some 27% of teens with relationship experience have broken up with someone via text message, 31% have been broken up with in this way.
It covers the results of a national Pew Research Center survey of teens ages 13 to 17; throughout the report, the word “teens” refers to those in that age bracket, unless otherwise specified. Though 57% of teens have begun friendships in a digital space, teens are far less likely to have embarked on a romantic relationship that started online.
A majority of teens with dating experience (76%) say they have only dated people they met via offline methods.
Among all teens: Each of the flirting behaviors measured in the survey is more common among teens with previous dating experience than among those who have never dated before.
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.
While most teen romantic relationships do not start online, technology is a major vehicle for flirting and expressing interest in a potential partner.