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Among teens with dating experience, boys and girls are equally likely to say they have met someone online, and younger and older teens are equally likely to have experienced this as well. The survey also found that among teen daters who have met a romantic partner online, Facebook is cited more often than other sites Girls who flirt the primary source for online romantic connections.
Facebook was mentioned 46 times in the open-ended responses to this question, while the second-most popular Instagram was cited only eight times. For teens who meet romantic partners online, it is common for those relationships to never actually progress to the point of a physical meeting. Teens in our focus groups related their experiences meeting partners through online venues. A high school girl described meeting a boyfriend online:.
And then like we just like really liked each other. We could talk to each other really easily. And then we started Skyping, and after that we just kind of started a relationship. Like you can do Girls who flirt. But for me, I DMed the person. Direct messaged them.
And we talked for about a week, and then I decided he actually seems kind of chill. I said sure. And we kind of met there and then we just kind of became romantically involved. I was actually surprised. And I met a girl on there and she lived up in [town].
After we dated. Broke up and then we finally met.
And for some teens, online relationships, like offline ones, can be uncomfortable and devolve into creepy situations. One high school girl related the experience of one of her friends:. But he said he lived in Florida and then last weekend, she got a ring in the mail from him. One of her friends did. And so she told him that it was the wrong address because he asked her. He asked, like, did you get what I sent you? I just feel weird about the whole situation.
Teens deploy social media and the web of connections they create to help them connect with and learn more about potential romantic prospects. Teens also avail themselves of the search capacities of the internet to connect to more information about romantic prospects. You know who their mom is already. A high school girl explained:. Flirting and otherwise letting someone know you are interested in them is typically the first step to building a romantic relationship, and teens approach this in numerous ways across a range of online and offline venues.
Social media interactions, along with in-person flirting, are among the most common ways for teens to express romantic interest in someone. Certain types of flirting behavior are relatively common among teens who have never dated before; others are almost entirely the purview of those with past experience in romantic relationships.
Each of the flirting behaviors measured in the survey is more common among teens with dating experience than among those who have never dated before. But while some of these behaviors are at least relatively common among dating neophytes, others are engaged in almost entirely by teens with prior relationship experience. On the other hand, more advanced, and sometimes more overtly sexual, online behaviors are used to flirt almost Girls who flirt by teens who have prior experience in romantic relationships:.
As noted earlier, older teens are more likely than younger teens to have experience with dating and relationships — and as such, older teens are substantially more likely than younger teens to say they have let someone know they were interested in them romantically in all of the ways measured on this survey. The correlation between flirting behaviors and age, however, is not as strong as the correlation between these behaviors and dating experience. Girls who flirt also are some modest differences relating to race and ethnicity in terms of the ways in which teens show interest in potential romantic partners.
On the other hand, girls and boys take nearly identical steps to show their romantic interest: There are no ificant differences between girls and boys on any of these behaviors. Teens in our focus group described a variety of practices for flirting on social Girls who flirt. One high school girl explained:.
Texting is also a critical component of early courtship. One high school Girls who flirt detailed the progression of a flirtation that begins with texting:. Another high school girl related the way she used her phone in the digital approximation of old-school note passing:.
But not everyone is confident. Girls who flirt nervous teens find solace and strength in digital methods of flirting such as texting. As one high schooler related, she could be:. As one high school girl explained:. Honestly, it just depends on the person and my personality and theirs. One high school girl said:. Other teens worry about the durability of their flirtations in a social media environment. As one middle school boy told us:. Digital technology plays a critical role in courtship for many teens. As one high school boy noted:.
But use of technology can be a part of a broader strategy where in-person and online flirting work together. As a high school boy put it:. Then on Instagram. They post a picture and [I] comment on it, then we just start talking. Many teens use social media as a venue to flirt and interact with potential romantic partners, but for those on the receiving end of those advances, social media flirting can often turn in a much less desirable direction.
Just as adult women are often subject to more frequent and intense harassment onlineteen girls are substantially more likely than boys to experience uncomfortable flirting within social media environments. Notably, this phenomenon is not just limited to older girls who might have greater exposure to dating and relationships.
Like I was on [the app-based messaging service] Girls who flirt the other day. I was on there. What happened? Why are you talking to me? Even though girls experience this Girls who flirt often, some boys face uncomfortable flirting and try to manage it through digital means. One middle school boy described an experience he had:. One day … she somehow got a hold of my. A group of high school boys describe another scenario where flirting becomes unnerving — when the volume of communication became inappropriate:.
Ultimately, getting someone to actually go out on a date is presumably the primary objective of these various modes of flirting. But despite the wide range of communication technologies available to modern teens, the time-tested tradition of asking in person continues to be the main way teens would ask out someone they were interested in. However, other approaches — online as well as offline — are relatively popular as well:.
When it comes to dating, Girls who flirt traditional practices remain common. Boys and girls are equally likely to say they would ask someone out by calling them on the phone, messaging them on a social networking site or getting one of their friends to ask for them. This tendency among girls to wait for someone to ask them out first is true for both younger and older teens. However, girls tend to take a more active role in reaching out to potential dating partners as they get older. The types of approaches teens take when asking someone out on Girls who flirt date also are correlated with age.
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It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Newsletters Donate My. Research Topics. Teens describe experiences meeting romantic partners online Teens in our focus groups related Girls who flirt experiences meeting partners through online venues. Older teens are more likely than younger teens to have engaged in all of these flirting behaviors; girls and boys take similar steps to express romantic interest As noted earlier, older teens are more likely than younger teens to have experience with dating and relationships — and as such, older teens are substantially more likely than younger teens to say they have let someone know they were interested in them romantically in all of the ways measured on this survey.
Teens talk about the variety of digital flirting practices they employ Teens in our focus group described a variety of practices for flirting on social media. Girls are far more likely than boys to wait for someone they are interested in to make the first move When it comes to dating, some traditional practices remain common.
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Chapter 2: How Teens Meet, Flirt With and Ask Out Potential Romantic Partners