Something to think about: “Young people are atthe forefront of developing, using, reworking, andincorporating new media into their dating practicesin ways that might be unknown, unfamiliar, andsometimes scary to adults” (Pascoe, 117). I everyday we see the difference in online datingsites, trying to appeal to the older crowd. In thematch.com commercials I remember seeing an olderdad who is looking for love. Sites like this don‟t need toadvertise to the younger crowd because the youngercrowd is more likely to be either already there or willconsider check into it when looking for a relationship.
Dating, New Media, andYouth A point made in the beginning of this section madenote that while the courtship rituals are “less formaland more varied” than in early and mid twentiethcentury, they are no less elaborate despite all thetechnology being used. (p. 119). This section also notes how the idea of “goingsteady” evolved: Youth in the 1950s who were going steady indicated thiswith an exchange of class rings, letter sweaters, idbracelets etc. In the 1970s and 1980s this practice declined Terms like going steady, courtship, and dating have beenreplaced with: hanging out, going out with someone (p.119)
“One study showed that the strongest emotionduring puberty was “the specific feeling of being inlove” (Miller and Benson 1999, 99), anddevelopmental psychologists consider romanticrelationships an essential feature of socialdevelopment in adolescence (Connolly andGoldberg 1999)” (p.119). I found this point interesting, that over-time the datingrituals have changed SO much, but the emotions andfeelings that teenagers experience going throughpuberty in relation to love hasn‟t changed andshouldn‟t change for social development
According to this section, youth use 3 primarytechnologies in their “intimacy practices:1. Mobile Phones—it was noted that many youth dostill use home phones as well!2. Instant Messaging3. Social Network sites I found it interesting that when talking about howthe mobile phone is a benefit to teens theyreferred to it also as a “leash” with which they cankeep tabs on one another. I was not sure that issuch a good thing because it does, at least theway it is phrased, pose a problem building trust.
On page 121 there is a reasoning as to why thereisn‟t much about teen sexual encounters in achapter about intimacy, but the research that wasperformed yielded stories aboutdating, heartbreak, crushes and the like. Theresearchers may have gotten more of this contenthad there been multiple interviews, but also therewere constraints placed on them by the reviewboard that strongly discouraged talk about sex. I think this explanation is necessary to show that it isn‟tthat they didn‟t do their research fully, but that sexwasn‟t an important part, especially where so muchresearch is focused solely around teens and sex.
Youth Courtship:Meeting, flirting, GoingOut, and Breaking Up The example of how Liz andGrady began their relationshipbecause of Myspace was fitting.Grady saw flirting with Liz inperson daunting, because hedidn‟t know her that well, but onMyspace he was able to talk toher and connect that way. Thatwas the beginning of theirrelationship, and I can see thatbeing a prevalentthing, although now it‟s overFacebook. It can be far lessintimidating, talking tosomeone first online, rejectionis likely easier to handle whenit isn‟t face-to-face.
“Instant message, text messages, and socialnetwork messaging functions all allow teens toproceed in a way that might feel less vulnerablethan face-to-face communication” (page. 123). From a personal standpoint, I would say that it‟s notjust teens. I am in the process of buying a motorcycle(I know, I‟m crazy!) and I have been looking for privatesales. I have been text messaging many people, and itis so much easier to make an offer and ask questionsthan when I am in person. Something about comingoff rude or being denied is easier when texting. If Idon‟t like what they have to say it is much easier toterminate the conversation than if it were face-to-face. (This has nothing to do with intimacy, but theseforms of communication definitely help to relieve thefeeling of vulnerability that face-to-face conversationstend to have.)
“You can deliberate and answer however youwant” (page 124). This is something I can remember when my friends andI were in high school and talking to people we mayhave had a crush on over Instant Messenger orMyspace (so much has changed since then). Wewould take forever to reply to every little thing, lookingfor the meaning behind the comment, and trying tocome up with our own equally clever and casualreply. I remember sometimes we would type thesethings out just to delete it and start all over, searchingfor just the right thing to say, something we couldnever do if this had been face-to-face.
This chapter moves onto meeting people offline,and both John (the Chicago college Freshmen)and Brad (the Berkeley Freshmen) said similar thingsabout meeting people offline. John said the key ismeeting them first, and then adding them online. I find that in my own friends (and myself) that meetingpeople offline is weird. It is definitely easier to meetsomeone offline if they are at least friends withsomeone I know. It‟s still awkward, but at least youhave someone there that knows both of you, to helpalleviate that awkwardness.
“In a similar way, new media also are importanttools for gay teens who want to date, because „thebiggest obstacle to same-sex dating among sexualminority youth is the identification of potentialpartners‟” (p. 128). This was interesting, as was the example about Robert.Robert was introduced to Matt throughFacebook, and they arranged a date. Unlike hisheterosexual counterparts, he expressed no hesitancyabout meeting someone in person that he had firstmet online. I can see how the internet would help gayteens. It‟s safer and (usually) easier to identifysomeone with the same interests as you.
Going Out Pascoe says that teenshave a high expectation ofcontact and availability oftheir partner, and that therelationship will be publiclyacknowledged throughdigital media. In thisway, technology has aneffect on long-term, committedrelationships. He also says that thistechnology can help teensmaintain relationships thattheir parents may notapprove of. (p. 128)
Breaking Up “The media that some youthlaud as a comfortable way tomeet and get to know aromantic interest are viewedas a poor way to break up withan intimate” (p. 133). As Ironic as it is, it is mostdefinitely true. It‟s not justyouth that this applies to, itis socially frowned upon tobreak up with someone byhiding behind the mediatechnology. Grady (Liz‟sboyfriend) said it was seenas disrespectful. I would saythat is an excellent way tosummarize the problem ofbreaking up over medial
“New media have created a public venue fordigital remnants, where digital representation mightoutlast the relationship” (p. 133). You don‟t think about it, but usually when you are in arelationship with someone you do a lot together, takea lot of photos, post to their wall a lot, etc. When youbreak up, some of that doesn‟t get deleted (like thephotos) and remains a reminder (or remnant) of apast relationship.
On page 133 Box 3.1 goes into the story of Michaeland Amy from love to hate (in a nutshell). I thoughtit was interesting, and thinking about it now, I haveseen it a lot, how Michael and Amy professed theirlove through Myspace accounts, airing theirrelationship publicly. However, once it was over, thenew relationship status of animosity and disdain wasalso publicly available. As stated in the box, the twoare seeking support from their peers, and they areessentially getting just that. The media allows themto broadcast openly to their friends how they arefeeling about the breakup. Michael was clearlyunhappy with the situation, while Amy had movedon completely.
These new media technologies also allow teens toindirectly communicate after a break up. You canwrite a blog post, but name no names, or you canchange your relationship status just to send amessage to one person. This allows for passivecommunication at the end of a relationship. (p.138).
Intimate Media:Privacy, Monitoring, andVulnerability Many teens are involved in relationshipsthat their parents may not approve of, orthey just want the privacy that they areusually not afforded. The media they useallows them a degree of privacy becauseunlike a phone conversation, an onlineconversation can‟t be overheard orlistened in on. You can keep it fairlyprivate.
“This monitoring varies from researching potentiallove interests to using a shard password to check upon one‟s significant other to attempting to restrictone‟s significant other‟s communications with his orher friends” (p. 139). The example of a couple of teens using the media to“check up” on their boyfriends. Pascoe explains thatthis behavior of “checking up” occurs when there is acrush, a romantic partner, or sometimes after a breakup
Pascoe also uses the example of some teenschanging their digital footprint to mislead theirsignificant other and/or protect their privacy. Oneteen said he deletes messages from other girls thatmight anger his girlfriend, and another said that hewill change the contacts in his phone (a girls nameto a boys name) so that if his girlfriend was checkinghis phone she would see him talking to guys, notgirls. Furthermore, it is said that some of this monitoringborderlines serious emotional control and/or abuse.
“The same technologies that allow youth tomanage emotional exposure might also renderthem more vulnerable, in part because of theamount and type of information shared and thespeed at which it can travel” (p.144). This is unfortunate but true. What makes it worse is thatteens don‟t generally have a great concept of thefuture consequences that some of their onlineinteractions could have.
Conclusion Not being ridiculously far past my teenage years much ofwhat has been said in this chapter hits home. However, it is notjust teens that experience much of what was discussed. In away, I almost find it scary how much teens are relying on thenew technology to meet people, only because it can be sodangerous. However, I can certainly identify with the ease ofcommunication that is allowed and the “safe” feeling you canget because you are not putting yourself out there face-to-face and you can negotiate the conversation on yourterms, saying exactly what you want to say and how to say it. Unfortunately, you lack the control of what other people arepublicly posting about you and your relationship. It appearsthat the teens of the time are certainly managing quite well tobe sure! It is interesting to see how much dating has evolved from theearly 1950s to now. At that time, I am sure they would neverhave imagined the type of courtship around now. This makesme wonder what teens will be doing 20 years down the roadfrom now.