By: Nasheetah Hossain
Today when you ask a teenager how he/she/they met their significant other, he/she/they will most likely smile dreamily and tell you some variation of: “We started texting and just realized we were into each other, you know?” That is the norm. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to even remember that there was a time when people could get to know someone through face to face conversations. The use of technology and social media has definitely revolutionized the world of teenage romance, and it’s time to dive into what it looks like now.
According to a study carried out in 2017, 50 percent of the teenagers surveyed had let someone know about their romantic interests through social media. This is not surprising, because typically “asking someone out” through texting or other messaging apps is much simpler than a real life conversation.
In addition to that, through social media, teenagers have a far wider reach than they do through, say, traditional methods like passing a note to someone in their English class. In a time when having an Instagram or Snapchat account is pretty much the norm, it is possible to reach virtually anyone.
Moving on to the relationship in itself, communication and involvement have become much more demanding than they used to be. Some studies show that 85 percent of teenagers expect to hear from their partner once a day, if not more. On the flipside, more than half of their significant others expect to hear from them at least once every hour, if not more. While a teenager’s life is already highly demanding and exhausting, the additional pressures of online expectations do not make relationships any easier.
As with most teenage relationships, there eventually comes a break up, which is when the virtual world can be the biggest threat. In the study, more than 45 percent of teenagers reported to having their significant other threaten them, or pressure them into risks like unwanted sexual activity. After the relationship ended, 37 percent said their former partners used some form of texting or social media to spread rumors or post information against them.
While break ups have always had the tendency to be difficult, with modern technology, the aftermath of the break up can last much longer.
While the revolutionization of technology has influenced teenagers in a multitude of ways, it has definitely impacted their dating lives. While this can be entertaining and more inclusive, we must also be considerate about the dangers of social media, to ensure a safe world for us and our peers.