Social media plugs into teen relationships

Teens are connected to their phones at the hip, whether it’s Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat. When teen relationships begin to depend on it, then it becomes more of a topic of discussion.
Text is a favorite way for teens to communicate, romantically or friendly. According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of teens with relationship experience communicate with a significant other over text. They also communicate over social media through Snapchat and Instagram direct messages.
“If we go on vacation, I can see how [my boyfriend is] doing [through text],” said freshman Taryn Lawas Morales, who has been with her boyfriend for over a year.
According to The Greatist Newsletter, an online website and newspaper, the more selfies posted on platforms like Instagram, the higher likelihood of relationship conflicts. Approximately 42 percent of couples reported that they are distracted by social media while being with their significant other, 18 percent argue in person about how much time they spend on social media, and 8 percent have conflicts about what their partner does online.
“Sometimes people use social media to get validation, but they also don’t have other people to get validation from so they’re asking the whole media,” Morales said.
Although teens use social media to meet and get to know each other, 85 percent of teens say that funny material like memes is the most common information shared online, as stated by Adolescent Counseling Services.
When people think about high school relationships, people immediately think of the bad parts. Although many high school relationships are the opposite. Senior Serena Perrone and Senior Jordan Barnes have been dating for nine months, and social media has been positively affecting them.
“We get to show people we are dating, and we can post cute pictures. Social media gives us the room to do that,” Perrone said.
According to the Inquiries Journal, social networking can positively affect a romantic relationship, if both partners post photos or updates a healthy and equal amount of affection, it can result in a more secure connection. Facebook can also help boost someone’s personal presentation by acknowledging the relationship on social media.
“Sometimes when we are together I’ll post a photo or on special occasions. Not randomly though,” Perrone said.
Although social media can be very beneficial to teen couples by allowing them to communicate regularly, sometimes it can bring them apart. It is often difficult to tell if someone is sarcastic or they’re joking while texting, which can lead to the recipient getting offended. This causes confusion between the couple because it could have been avoided if they were talking in person. Then it’s hard to resolve the conflict because what was said was taken the wrong way.
“It can get miscommunicated, what we’re trying to say,” Morales said.
Youth Development Coordinator Whitney Fitzgerald believes that communication plays a large part in the connection between teens in romantic relationships and that social media takes away from that. To have a successful relationship you need to have a balance of in-person conversation so that when it comes to text, you know how that person would say that if you were to be standing in front of them.
“The more connections we think we have via social media, the less we’re truly experiencing a human connection,” Fitzgerald said.

According to two studies, Mehrabian & Wiener, 1967 and Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967, in most situations, 55 percent of communication is body language, 38 percent is tone of voice, and 7 percent is the words spoken. That means over text, you are only getting 7 percent of what the other person is saying.
“You will be able to pick up on some of those really subtle things like certain body language things, or the ways in which they use tone or the way in which they react or respond to different things that you may say [in real life]. So you’re missing out on a really big part of communication that is not there online and in texting,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald says that being with your partner over text all day can weaken a relationship in that way.
“[I wouldn’t want to] tell them every little piece of my day and send them pictures or snaps or something of [everything],” Fitzgerald said.”Then at the end [of the day] when you go and see them, it’s like ‘how was your day.’ You were along for the entire ride.”
Pew Research Center says that 59 percent of teens feel social media makes them feel more connected to their partner, although many say that it is only a little bit.
“Overall, it’s (social media) a really cool way to share your thoughts, but it just depends on how they communicate,” Morales said.