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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.
So it kind of makes [the relationship] stronger.” For some, one other useful feature of multiple digital communication platforms (e.g., texting, messaging apps, Twitter, Instagram) is that those platforms allow teens to manage communicating with multiple people and multiple romantic partners. Teens in our focus group described peering at photos on their partner’s profile to look for suspicious images.
One high school boy from our focus groups relates his strategy: “Sometimes, if you [are romantically involved with] a bunch of girls, you can have set time periods – where it’s like you can ignore her for a little bit and talk to her. One high school girl explains her calculus: “It depends on like what they’re doing in the picture.
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.
A high school girl explained: “Maybe they’re just not sure about it, too. I wouldn’t really know if we were in a relationship yet, so I wouldn’t say anything about it.Many teens in relationships view social media as a place where they can feel more connected with the daily contours of their significant other’s life, share emotional connections and let their significant other know they care – although these sites can also lead to feelings of jealousy or uncertainty about the stability of one’s relationship.At the same time, even teens who indicate that social media has had an impact on their relationship (whether for good or for bad) tend to feel that its impact is relatively modest in the grand scheme of things.Among teen social media users with relationship experience: Boys are a bit more likely than girls to view social media as a space for emotional and logistical connection with their significant other.Some 65% of boys with relationship experience who use social media agree that these sites make them feel more connected about what’s going on in their significant other’s life (compared with 52% of girls).
At the same time, 77% agree that people are less authentic and real on social media than they are in real life.