In a series of focus groups online and in cities across the U. S. These are some of the key themes and responses we heard during these data-gathering sessions. It was relatively rare for teens in our focus groups to talk about meeting romantic partners online. Some teens explained that they would not trust someone they met online because of the likelihood of misrepresentation, while others were generally distrustful of all strangers online. Some girls don’t really look like they do [on] Instagram. That’s why you’ve got to meet. But despite this general wariness, some teens did describe meeting romantic partners online.
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These teens often mentioned social media as a platform for meeting potential partners. . I was dating this girl that I met through a social website that probably hardly anybody knows about. So it’s a dating website for teens. It’s called MeetMe. It was like, oh, what the hell. I’ll try it. And I met a girl on there and she lived up in [location]. I still talk to her, but we’re not together. I just met a girl on Facebook, like, messaged her and then met her in person. That was all. I just met her. I’ve met a person over Instagram, actually. Direct messaged them. And we talked for about a week, and then I decided he actually seems kind of chill. I’m going to give him my number. And then I took it slow, like cause meeting someone over the internet isn’t always the best idea. So if you’re going to do it, like do it very carefully. During the focus groups, technology – and especially social media – often was described as an integral part of the courting process for teens. 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. Well sometimes you might use social media to see if, like, they’re going out with someone or something. Many teens in our focus groups described flirting with a crush by liking their photos or posting a comment on their social media profile. These interactions have their own unwritten – but widely understood – rules. Everything from one’s choice of emoji to the spelling of the word “hey” can carry a deeper meaning. When I have a crush on someone and I want them to know I go on their page and like a lot of pictures in a row. Like all of them.
Like, like, like, like, like, like all the pictures. You’re the right cute factor. Emojis, but the main way you’re going to know is like when they first say 'hey. ' How many y’s they put on their ‘hey. ’ Yeah, they do that a lot. Well, if you really putting yourself out there, you could comment on their picture with a heart emoji. Text messaging also is a common way for teens to flirt and express romantic interest. But for all the advantages digital communication can offer, a number of teens in these focus groups said they are more at ease when talking to the object of their affection face to face. I usually text my crushes. I flirt with emojis, and I usually be myself if they don’t like me for me [. Tough]. I’m very open and talk to a lot of people or talk to them face to face. I can only ever flirt in person and that is on [the] rare occasion when I have been gifted with super powers, clearly. A little bit more bold over text, because you wouldn't say certain things in person. You just wouldn't say certain things in, like, talking face to face with them because that might be kind of awkward. But over text, it's like, OK. Cause they're not really there. It’s like good and bad things because, like, all those texts, you really can’t communicate the way you communicate in person. Like they can’t really hear the tone of voice. They might think that you’re saying something in some type of way. 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. Like the best thing about texting is that you can think about what you’re going to say. And if you don’t like it, you can always get rid of it until the end. With talking, you can’t really do that. If you’re like a thing or something, it’s more likely that you’re talking to them more. But text.
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If you just met them, it’d be weird if they called. 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. So I think he says more stuff, like how he feels through text. As mobile devices have made it easy to check in from a wide range of locations throughout the day, many teens now want to communicate with their romantic partner on a daily – and in some cases, hourly – basis. Indeed, expect to hear from their significant other at least once a day, and 66% expect to hear from them hourly. This issue came up frequently in our focus groups, as many teens expressed a desire (and in many cases, an expectation) that they hear from their significant other on a regular basis. Teens in our focus groups described how a delay by their significant other in responding to a text message or phone call can make them feel ignored or unimportant, especially when they can see on social media that their partner is online: It’s like, he made the status and I just texted him. Why didn’t he reply? So recently, actually, like two days ago, my girlfriend actually got her phone taken away by her mom. So like a day or two passed by, I'm like wondering if I should text her. Check to see if she's looked at my Snap or whatever. Or not opened my Snap but my Snap story. Like so she's like seen it. And I saw that she liked something on Instagram. So like. I was looking. Why didn't you text me? She got her phone taken, you'd think, you know. But she didn't. 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. So I just texted her. She’s going to check my comments and stuff. She sees, like someone commented on it two hours ago. Or somebody’s like ‘I miss you.
’ [And then she asks] ‘Who is this girl? ’See, the thing that they did wrong is they didn’t put it in messages. They put it in comments. When somebody’s willing to fight, they bring out their problems and comments and let the whole world see and not just keep it between them. So it’s this big old nasty problem. Online when I know she’s talking indirectly about me on Twitter. Like spreading our business out to the world of Twitter. It’s like you’ve messed up everything. ”Their status. And then other times, on Instagram it says in their bio, they put like the date they started going out. Yeah. You need to have the padlock emoji with a heart and two people holding handsI mean, 'cause like if you and then person are, like, super open and you both use Facebook a lot, then you’re going to like post pictures of yourself on Facebook. But if you’re kind of like, oh, it’s kind of a like a waste of time, then you won’t do that. A lot of people kind of don’t like it on social media because it doesn’t need to be on there. Cause as long as the two [people] know how they feel about each other. I feel like if you have it on social media, it’s like more drama. Because like more people ask questions and stuff like that. I have a lot of family on Facebook. Like my grandparents and stuff. And my grandparents always like to comment on my statuses. 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. Yeah, the best way is in person. Second best way is probably on the phone. I feel like it should be in person. It’s kind of rude to do it on social media. You have to have maturity.
That’s like eighth grade stuff. I’d do it in person. I mean, I just don’t think that’s the proper way to do it. Especially, like, it’s something different if you’re doing it over direct message. Like where it’s straight to their inbox. It’s something different if you’re doing it straight over a mention with, like, a picture or something. Yeah, even like a phone call. You can even call them on the phone and be like, hey, I don’t think it’s going to work. But like if you’re texting them, that’s really impersonal. It’s kind of frowned upon to break up over, like, media. Like you’re just going to have that right on your shoulders forever. Like, oh my God, he broke up with his ex-girlfriend over the phone. But even though is largely frowned upon, 77% of teens with dating experience admit to breaking up with someone by text. In our focus groups, we heard from teens who have broken up with someone via text. Some said that they used text messaging because they didn’t want to see their former partner hurt, while others wished to avoid facing anger or physical retaliation. Others said that they had never broken up with someone this way themselves, but have some sympathy for people who take this approach. 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 for me, I mean, I know it’s not the best thing, but usually over text I just. I don’t have to see them get so hurt. And usually breaking up is really a hard thing for me. So it just helps me cope with that. I still feel bad about it, but usually texting is just better for me. A lot of people, if one person cheats or something or does something really terrible, then they both. And he finds out, then they can just go to text. They're angry with them. It's impersonal.
They don't want to talk to them. You've got to talk to them.