This report examines American teens’ digital romantic practices. The main findings from this research include: Overall, 35% of American teens ages 13 to 17 have ever dated, hooked up with or been otherwise romantically involved with another person, and 18% are currently in a romantic relationship.
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.
Some 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; 16% of this group “strongly” agrees.
Most teens in romantic relationships assume that they and their partner will check in with each other with great regularity throughout the day.
One-quarter (25%) of all teens have unfriended or blocked someone on social media because that person was flirting in a way that made them uncomfortable.
Just as adult women are often subject to more frequent and intense harassment online, teen girls are substantially more likely than boys to experience uncomfortable flirting within social media environments.
Many teens in relationships view social media as a place where they can feel more connected with the daily events in their significant other’s life, share emotional connections, and let their significant other know they care.
When it comes to spending time with a significant other, teens say texting is the top method, but phone calling and in-person time mix with other digital means for staying in touch.
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.
Girls are especially likely to support friends’ relationships on social media: 71% of girls with dating experience have done so, compared with 57% of boys.
But even as they use social media to show affection, display their relationships and support their friends’ relationships, many teen daters also express annoyance at the public nature of their own romantic partnerships on social media.