On the other hand, there are no differences between boys and girls on the question of whether their partner is less authentic on social media than they are in real life.
One high school boy explained why someone might not want to post any details about their relationship on social media: “I don’t know. Then, you know, if you were to post it online and then you break up, you probably wouldn’t want to change it and then everyone asks you what happened, so you might not put it there in the first place. It’s like a permanent tattoo.” “A lot of people kind of don’t like it on social media because it doesn’t need to be on there.
Just let it be the people you actually know who knows. ‘Cause as long as the two 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.” And some teens don’t post much about the relationship on social media because they’re not sure of the relationship status or they don’t want to seem like they’re bragging about their good fortune.
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.
Teens in our focus group explained the way digital communication platforms – social media as well as texting – can enhance and expand on in-person meetings.
One high school girl noted: “I feel like it helps to develop a relationship because even if you meet someone in person, you can’t see them all the time or talk to them all the time to get to know them, so you text them or message them to get to know them better.”“My boyfriend isn’t shy … And it gets easier for him to tell me everything in person, but when we’re …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.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.But when we text, it seems like it’s so much easier for him to talk to me.