Today’s Relationships with Technology

by Nicole Reich ‘17

Technology plays an undeniable role in teens’ romantic relationships. This is due to an increase of connection possibilities from advancements in the digital world. In our society, practically everything is online and is there for others to see or interact with.

Relationships often start with showing interest in someone, which is done through a friend request, retweeting their tweet, or liking and commenting on a photo. These actions carry unwritten rules that are widely known among social media users. According to the Pew Research Center, “Half of all teens have let someone know they were interested in them romantically by friending them.” One gets to know another by following their feeds and profiles. Texting and snapchatting are constant actions that can be done throughout the day that carry many benefits. When texting, teens have the luxury of orchestrating a text and really think about what they want to say. Snapchatting gives people the option to not even talk and just send pictures. Calling and FaceTiming are popular options, especially in an attempt to have a longer and more personable conversation. Relationships can now become stronger with more ongoing communication options.

But the addition of the phones and computers can also make relationships more complicated. There are expectations for one’s partner to respond within a certain time period. “85 percent of teens daters expect to hear from their significant other at least once a day,” according to the Pew report. Technology comes with the risks of surveillance and jealousy, which can lead to fights. Many teens create social media posts, such as facebook statuses, to display the progress of their now public relationship. Privacy has been degraded in relationships, and “69 percent of teen daters who use social media agree that too many people can see what’s going on in their relationship on social media.”

Ending relationships now can be done digitally, an action that traditionally occurred in person. In fact, “27% of teen daters have broken up with someone via text message and 31% have been broken up with in this way.” After relationships have ended, an ex’s life can simply be viewed at with the touch of a button. Couples often take the easy road with electronic communication instead of old-school face-to-face connections. Relationships can still be mostly in person interaction, but is increasingly rare. People have just gotten used to basing their relationships on technology.