Among teens with dating experience, boys and girls are equally likely to say they have met someone online, and younger and older teens are equally likely to have experienced this as well. The survey also found that among teen daters who have met a romantic partner online, Facebook is cited more often than other sites as the primary source for online romantic connections. Facebook was mentioned 46 times in the open-ended responses to this question, while the second-most popular Instagram was cited only eight times.
For teens who meet romantic partners online, it is common for those relationships to never actually progress to the point of a physical meeting. Teens describe experiences meeting romantic partners online Teens in our focus groups related their experiences meeting partners through online venues. A high school girl described meeting a boyfriend online: And then like we just like really liked each other.
We could talk to each other really easily. And then we started Skyping, and after that we just kind of started a relationship. Like you can do that. But for me, I DMed the person. And we talked for about a week, and then I decided he actually seems kind of chill. And we kind of met there and then we just kind of became romantically involved. I was actually surprised. And I met a girl on there and she lived up in [town].
Broke up and then we finally met. One high school girl related the experience of one of her friends: But he said he lived in Florida and then last weekend, she got a ring in the mail from him. One of her friends did. And so she told him that it was the wrong address because he asked her. He asked, like, did you get what I sent you? I just feel weird about the whole situation. Teens also avail themselves of the search capacities of the internet to connect to more information about romantic prospects.
You know who their mom is already. A high school girl explained: Social media interactions, along with in-person flirting, are among the most common ways for teens to express romantic interest in someone. Certain types of flirting behavior are relatively common among teens who have never dated before; others are almost entirely the purview of those with past experience in romantic relationships.
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 engaged in almost entirely by teens with prior relationship experience.
Friending them or taking part in general interactions on social media: On the other hand, more advanced, and sometimes more overtly sexual, online behaviors are used to flirt almost entirely by teens who have prior experience in romantic relationships: Older teens are more likely than younger teens to have engaged in all of these flirting behaviors; girls and boys take similar steps to express romantic interest As noted earlier, older teens are more likely than younger teens to have experience with dating and relationships — and as such, older teens are substantially more likely than younger teens to say they have let someone know they were interested in them romantically in all of the ways measured on this survey.
The correlation between flirting behaviors and age, however, is not as strong as the correlation between these behaviors and dating experience. There also are some modest differences relating to race and ethnicity in terms of the ways in which teens show interest in potential romantic partners. On the other hand, girls and boys take nearly identical steps to show their romantic interest: There are no significant differences between girls and boys on any of these behaviors.
Teens talk about the variety of digital flirting practices they employ Teens in our focus group described a variety of practices for flirting on social media. One high school girl explained: One high school boy detailed the progression of a flirtation that begins with texting: Some nervous teens find solace and strength in digital methods of flirting such as texting.
As one high schooler related, she could be: As one high school girl explained: Honestly, it just depends on the person and my personality and theirs. One high school girl said: As one middle school boy told us: As one high school boy noted: As a high school boy put it: They post a picture and [I] comment on it, then we just start talking. 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.
Notably, this phenomenon is not just limited to older girls who might have greater exposure to dating and relationships. A high school girl in our focus groups related her experience with uncomfortable online pursuit: Like I was on [the app-based messaging service] Kik the other day. I was on there. Why are you talking to me? One middle school boy described an experience he had: One day … she somehow got a hold of my number. A group of high school boys describe another scenario where flirting becomes unnerving — when the volume of communication became inappropriate: High school boy 1: But despite the wide range of communication technologies available to modern teens, the time-tested tradition of asking in person continues to be the main way teens would ask out someone they were interested in.
However, other approaches — online as well as offline — are relatively popular as well: Girls are far more likely than boys to wait for someone they are interested in to make the first move When it comes to dating, some traditional practices remain common. Boys and girls are equally likely to say they would ask someone out by calling them on the phone, messaging them on a social networking site or getting one of their friends to ask for them.
This tendency among girls to wait for someone to ask them out first is true for both younger and older teens. However, girls tend to take a more active role in reaching out to potential dating partners as they get older. The types of approaches teens take when asking someone out on a date also are correlated with age.
This study did not ask about sexting, or the sending, sharing or receiving of nude or nearly nude photos and videos.