Bad Romance: Social Media Influence and Teen Relationships
Are teens being pressured to “grow up” too fast? Recent statistics regarding social media and teens point to yes, they are.
95% of all teens, ages 13-17, are online with 80% utilizing social media, the Internet, and social networks. Recent statistics reveal that social media has a very large influence over teens’ conceptions of dating and relationships.
A third of all teens using Facebook, for instance, state they seek love through Facebook, but just like dating in the real world, there is a dark side. Teens using Facebook for love sometimes receive unwanted or explicit attention.
- 75% of teens that experience this unwanted or explicit attention and would not inform their parents
- 34% of girls and 16% of boys experience this unwanted attention or explicit behavior that made them feel uncomfortable, pressured, or even attacked
- 29% of girls said they experienced interactions online with members of the opposite sex that made them feel uncomfortable, pressured, or even threatened
- 23% of all teens, however, have experienced some sort of unwanted, uncomfortable, or explicit attention from the opposite sex online
The revealing statistics don’t stop there though, as social media, namely social networks have a large impact upon dating and relationship norms for teens.
46% of teens feel that the Internet influences what their boyfriend or girlfriend expect from them in terms of relationship behavior. What is the effect of using Facebook for romance? Some teens were quoted saying, “…everyone (on Facebook) is putting out there what he or she does with their boyfriends and there is some pressure to do the same”
Another teen stated that,
“I think what is posted on Facebook or the Internet by me or by my friends influences boys who may be interested in dating me, both positively and negatively.”
Another expressed that “It influences us [teens] in terms of wanting to copy and be like others in relationships. Although I am private, I envy friends who are public with pictures and messages for all to see.”
Clearly teens are feeling an influence from social media on how to date and manage a relationship. The dating search or even relationships through social media, networks, and even instant messaging services (IM) sometimes results in behavior or attention from the opposite sex that crosses the line, that makes teens feel uncomfortable and sometimes pressured to reciprocate.
Kids today face an increased amount of pressure to live up to peer expectations and social norms, basically pressuring teens to grow up faster than previous generations. These statistics are only expected to grow as the influence of social media and networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, grow in use and influence.
For more information about this study, click here.