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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.
At the same time, this self-presentation can sometimes appear inauthentic or phony to others.
Teens are especially attuned to this type of social curation: When it comes to teen friendships, fully 85% of teen social media users agree that social media allows people to show a side of themselves that they can’t show online.
Among teens with relationship experience: Beyond publicly displaying affection and one’s own relationship, social media is a space where many teens can express public support or approval of others’ romantic relationships: 63% of teens with dating experience have posted or liked something on social media as a way to indicate their support of one of their friends’ relationships.
Girls are especially likely to publicly support their friends’ relationships using social media (71% of girls with dating experience have done so, compared with 57% of boys) although boys and girls are equally likely to publicly express affection for their own partner in social media environments.
Just 31% of such teens disagree with this statement, and only a small percentage (2%) disagree “strongly.” Boys and girls, older and younger teens, and those from higher- and lower-income households are equally likely to agree with this statement.
Teens in our focus groups explained their concerns about people being overly involved, especially in breakups, and their discomfort with the permanence of posted content.
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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.