Of those who have met a partner online, the majority met on social media sites, and the bulk of them met on Facebook.
While most teen romantic relationships do not start online, technology is a major vehicle for flirting and expressing interest in a potential partner.
This report examines American teens’ digital romantic practices. The main findings from this research include: Overall, 35% of American teens ages 13 to 17 have ever dated, hooked up with or been otherwise romantically involved with another person, and 18% are currently in a romantic relationship.
It covers the results of a national Pew Research Center survey of teens ages 13 to 17; throughout the report, the word “teens” refers to those in that age bracket, unless otherwise specified. Though 57% of teens have begun friendships in a digital space, teens are far less likely to have embarked on a romantic relationship that started online.
A majority of teens with dating experience (76%) say they have only dated people they met via offline methods.
One-quarter (24%) of teen “daters” or roughly 8% of all teens have dated or hooked up with someone they first met online.
Adolescence is a time of incredibly physical, social and emotional growth, and peer relationships – especially romantic ones – are a major social focus for many youth.
Understanding the role social and digital media play in these romantic relationships is critical, given how deeply enmeshed these technology tools are in lives of American youth and how rapidly these platforms and devices change.
This study reveals that the digital realm is one part of a broader universe in which teens meet, date and break up with romantic partners.
Online spaces are used infrequently for meeting romantic partners, but play a major role in how teens flirt, woo and communicate with potential and current flames. 10 through March 16, 2015; 16 online and in-person focus groups with teens were conducted in April 2014 and November 2014.
But while some of these behaviors are at least relatively common among dating neophytes, others are almost entirely engaged in by teens with prior relationship experience.