To explore the ways teens talk about their use of new media
to craft, pursue, and end intimate relationships.
Examine how the domestication of technology influences
and is influenced by contemporary teen courtship
To find and discuss themes in relationship practices and
technology, from conducted interviews and observations.
Teens and New Media
Teens craft complex
emotional and social
realities publically and
privately on and offline.
New media plays a large
role in meeting, flirting,
and going out, because
they can pursue casual
might otherwise not be
permitted by parents.
Offers teens the ability to
talk beyond the earshot of
ones parents and other
3 Primary Technologies
Teens Intimacy practices primarily utilize three technologies:
1. Mobile phones-private channels of communication.
2. Instant messaging- maintain frequent casual contact
with their intimates.
3. Social network sites- venues for representations of
intimacy and provides ways to signal intensity of a
relationship in visual and textual ways.
Meeting and flirting
New media often plays an important
role in the beginning stages of a
serious relationship and in casual
Allows teens feel less vulnerable by
allowing communication without
Ex. If a teen is interested in someone
they might not know well, new
media allows them to interact with
them in a more casual manner.
Digital communication can act as a
casual follow up after meeting
New media also offers teens a place
to research a potential love interest
via their social network.
Meeting only online is not the
norm, yet people do it.
Internet allows teens to meet others like
Youth who previously felt unheard in their
communities, get the opportunity to participate
in other ways.
New media is an important way in which gay
teens can identify potential partners and affords
them a level of independence.
Allows couples to maintain a relationship that
might be geographically challenging.
Technology also plays a role
in teens maintenance of
Most teens have high
expectations when it comes
to frequent contact and
availability of their significant
The seriousness of a
relationship is made evident
by a couples willingness to
publically acknowledge it.
Teens demonstrate affection
through private and public
Online Rules for Going Out
In the beginning stages of courtship, use casual online
language by communicating with intentional ambiguity to
create a layer of casualness and protection.
Because of increased independence offered by the use of
mobile phones, Frequent check-ins are expected from a
If a relationship is meaningful enough, an affirmation of that
relationship is to be done online both by and for a
significant other; which will act as a Hands-off signal to
other teens. (this public declaration is usually negotiated
offline prior to its appearance)
To show dedication to the relationship, it is necessary to
leave public messages for and post pictures of significant
Be willing to share your passwords with your significant
other, so that they can monitor your communication.
“Teens current use of new media might be a unique
moment in the recent history of dating practices.”146
Breakups are usually mediated.
After a breakup, the digital remnants must be swept
to deal with access to and the continuing digital
presence of their former significant others.
It is not respectful to break up with someone via
social network, instant message, or text message.
Digital representation tends to outlast a relationship.
Break ups can be done passively through status
changes or publically through public messages and
After a relationship, teens tend to use the same
Youth tend to monitor each other via their social
network after a break up.
“While teens stop engaging in continuous contact
after a breakup, they still use new media to
communicate indirectly with each other and their
larger mediated publics.”(138)
Since many relationships include internet monitoring by
both parties, a certain vulnerability is created.
New media can simultaneously increase teens
vulnerability and their control over their emotional
exposure, allowing them to form strong emotional
connections with each one another.
This vulnerability can also open them up to being
victimized by their friends, acquaintances, and other
Social media allows teens to feel less exposed, because
they can text or leave a message on their Facebook
page instead of calling and leaving a nervous message.
Social media also makes teens are also more vulnerable
to stalkers, strangers, and predators.
Questions to Consider…
Do you feel as though you participate in any
of the practices that are common among the
teens described in this chapter?
Do you find the amount of independence
offered by the availability of new media to
Do you think any of the practices are
unhealthy or unrealistic?
How do you think your relationships might
have been had you grown up in this same