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.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.Some 37% of teens with dating experience have used social media to tell their significant other how much they like them in a way that is visible to other people.Teens from less well-off households, as well as those who have met a partner online, are especially likely to have done this.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.
At the same time, even among boys this impact is fairly muted: Just 16% say social media makes them feel “a lot” more connected to their significant other’s life, while just 13% feel “a lot” more emotionally close to their significant other thanks to social media.
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.
Many teens in relationships view social media as a place where they can feel more connected with the daily contours of their significant other’s life, share emotional connections and let their significant other know they care – although these sites can also lead to feelings of jealousy or uncertainty about the stability of one’s relationship.
At the same time, even teens who indicate that social media has had an impact on their relationship (whether for good or for bad) tend to feel that its impact is relatively modest in the grand scheme of things.
And I wouldn’t want to be obsessive about it, and I wouldn’t want people to think I was bragging either, so I just wouldn’t show anything.” “Sometimes if your parents find out, I mean, my mom lets me have a girlfriend, but some protective parents …