Media dating abuse
But a substantial minority feel that their partner acts differently – in positive or negative ways — on social media than he or she does in real life.
Among the 31% of teens who are “teen daters” who use social media: Girls are more likely to “strongly disagree” with the notion that their partner shows a different side of themselves on social media than they do offline: 13% of girls strongly disagree with this statement, compared with just 4% of boys.
Among teens with relationship experience: Beyond publicly displaying affection and one’s own relationship, social media is a space where many teens can express public support or approval of others’ romantic relationships: 63% of teens with dating experience have posted or liked something on social media as a way to indicate their support of one of their friends’ relationships.
These findings suggest that the experience and consequences of DDA may be particularly detrimental for girls.
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 group explained specific ways in which a relationship might be displayed on social media. You need to have the padlock emoji with a heart and two people holding hands. Focus group teens also noted that posting publicly about a relationship – noting the date you started the relationship in your bio, declaring your affection, posting photos – sometimes had to do with gaining a sense of status, expressing possessiveness or getting attention from peers: High school boy 1: But even as they use social media to support their friends’ relationships, many teen daters express annoyance at the public nature of their own romantic partnerships on social media.
As a high school boy related, people in relationships change “You’ve got to put the date in the bio and her in the bio. Fully 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, with 16% indicating that they “strongly” agree.