Pew Research Center Report: Teen Voices – Dating in the Digital Age

This is an excellent report, loaded with tons of focus group verbatims from US teens, illustrating online behaviours from flirting to dating to breaking up:

It was relatively rare for teens in our focus groups to talk about meeting romantic partners online. Some teens explained that they would not trust someone they met online because of the likelihood of misrepresentation, while others were generally distrustful of all strangers online.

You might be catfished.
– High School Boy

Half of all teens (50%) have let someone know they were interested in them romantically by friending them on Facebook or another social media site, and 47% have expressed their attraction by liking, commenting or otherwise interacting with that person on social media.

Teens also spoke about social media as an information-gathering tool that helps them find out all sorts of information about a potential partner, like whether they are dating someone or not.

When I have a crush on someone and I want them to know I go on their page and like a lot of pictures in a row.
– High School Girl

On liking a crush’s photos on Instagram: Like all of them. Like, like, like, like, like, like all the pictures. You’re the right cute factor.
– High School Girl

On how girls show interest on Instagram:
Emojis, but the main way you’re going to know is like when they first say ‘hey.’ How many y’s they put on their ‘hey.’ Yeah, they do that a lot.
– High School Boy

Well, if you really putting yourself out there, you could comment on their picture with a heart emoji.
– High School Girl

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. 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.”

Yeah. You need to have the padlock emoji with a heart and two people holding hands
– High School Boy