At the same time, 77% agree that people are less authentic and real on social media than they are in real life.Teens tend to experience each of these behaviors to a lesser extent in the context of their romantic relationships than they do in their broader friend networks.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.But when we text, it seems like it’s so much easier for him to talk to me.
A high school girl explained: “Maybe they’re just not sure about it, too. I wouldn’t really know if we were in a relationship yet, so I wouldn’t say anything about it.Teens in our focus group explained the way digital communication platforms – social media as well as texting – can enhance and expand on in-person meetings.One high school girl noted: “I feel like it helps to develop a relationship because even if you meet someone in person, you can’t see them all the time or talk to them all the time to get to know them, so you text them or message them to get to know them better.”“My boyfriend isn’t shy … And it gets easier for him to tell me everything in person, but when we’re …So it kind of makes [the relationship] stronger.” For some, one other useful feature of multiple digital communication platforms (e.g., texting, messaging apps, Twitter, Instagram) is that those platforms allow teens to manage communicating with multiple people and multiple romantic partners. Teens in our focus group described peering at photos on their partner’s profile to look for suspicious images.One high school boy from our focus groups relates his strategy: “Sometimes, if you [are romantically involved with] a bunch of girls, you can have set time periods – where it’s like you can ignore her for a little bit and talk to her. One high school girl explains her calculus: “It depends on like what they’re doing in the picture.