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Some said that they used text messaging because they didn’t want to see their former partner hurt, while others wished to avoid facing anger or physical retaliation.

I mean, I just don’t think that’s the proper way to do it.

Especially, like, it’s something different if you’re doing it over direct message. It’s something different if you’re doing it straight over a mention with, like, a picture or something.

But even as text messaging and social media play a pronounced role in all other aspects of teen life, teens feel strongly that an in-person conversation -- or at worst, a phone call -- is the most socially acceptable way to break up with someone.

Teens in our focus groups generally agreed that breaking up with a partner over text messaging or social media illustrates a lack of maturity on the part of the person who is ending the relationship.

Indeed, 85% of teen daters expect to hear from their significant other at least once a day, and 11% expect to hear from them hourly. ’ On witnessing someone argue with a romantic partner on social media: See, the thing that they did wrong is they didn’t put it in messages. When somebody’s willing to fight, they bring out their problems and comments and let the whole world see and not just keep it between them. Teens take a number of steps to show that they are in a romantic relationship with someone, and many of these rituals take place on social media.

This issue came up frequently in our focus groups, as many teens expressed a desire (and in many cases, an expectation) that they hear from their significant other on a regular basis. In our focus groups, teens spoke about the reasons why couples might showcase their relationship on social media, from seeking attention to letting others know that they are now “off the market.” I mean, 'cause like if you and then person are, like, super open and you both use Facebook a lot, then you’re going to like post pictures of yourself on Facebook.

In our focus groups, teens discussed some of the potential negative effects of documenting their romantic relationships on social media, which ranged from increased drama to a general loss of privacy.

A lot of people kind of don’t like it on social media because it doesn’t need to be on there.

Others mentioned how text-based communication can help them overcome the shyness they sometimes experience in person or give them time to come up with the perfect response during conversation. You know, so that kind of made me mad, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to act clingy or whatever. Teens also described other negative aspects of technology in romantic relationships, such as surveillance that leads to jealousy, as well as arguments between partners that play out publicly on social media for all to see.

I think texting kind of makes you feel closer because boys are more shy. But when we text, it seems like it’s so much easier for him to talk to me. About a quarter – 27% – of teens with dating experience have had a partner use social media to track their whereabouts, and 27% of teens with dating experience say social media makes them feel jealous or unsure of their relationship.

From heart emojis on Instagram to saying goodbye to a relationship with a text message, digital technology plays an important role in how teens seek out, maintain and end relationships. And we talked for about a week, and then I decided he actually seems kind of chill. And then I took it slow, like cause meeting someone over the internet isn’t always the best idea.