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Tagging Love or Loneliness?

Examining how social media affects teenaged relationships- for better or for worse

High school relationships: the scourge of tired students trying to get to class without bumping into two fifteen-year-olds making out and the subject of what seems like every teen movie in the last few decades. 

According to Pew Research Center’s “Teens, Technology, and Romantic Relationships”, 35% of teens have had or are in a romantic relationship, and teenagers’ apparent obsession with romance is well documented through the media, often sharing the stage with teenagers’ other love, social media, as teens stalk their crushes and agonize over texting them back. 

 This coupling of interests, therefore begs the question: how do these two staples of the high school experience interact with each other?

Social media gives teenagers an outlet to express their “love” for their partners- with posting your significant other being such a milestone they’ve invented slang for it- “hard launch” vs. “soft launch” is a popular term, and “rizz” (meaning charisma) recently being added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. 47% of teens say social media offers a place for them to show how much they care about their significant other; 12% feel this way “a lot.”

Similarly, It’s common to see teens put their significant other’s names in their bios, match profile pictures, or, on a less positive note, break up over one of them liking another girl’s post and sob over the endless videos of happy couples on Instagram and comment “gonna take a bath with a toaster.” 

PRHS teens seem to agree that social media is a double-edged sword for relationships.

Georgina Abreu, senior and star of 14 Days of Love season 1, has been dating her boyfriend for the past two years and sees mostly positives in social media’s interactions with social media. “I love when other couples post and you get to see inside (their relationship, but) I definitely think there’s a boundary line when they post too much, or when they post when they’re mad at each other.” 

She admits, however, that expectations can be harder for younger people, including teens. “I think that kind of plays into like when you’re a kid and look at every other girl on social media and you want to be like them… I definitely feel like social media definitely affects other girls and how they think they should be treated. It’s affected me before but in a dumb way.” 

 What Abreu is describing isn’t uncommon, with 27% of teens saying social media makes them feel jealous or unsure about their relationship. Nonetheless, Abreu has no reservations about posting her significant other on social media “with limits”, having no reservations about posting him if there’s a picture she likes or subtly displaying her commitment with his initial in her bio.  

Senior Landon Lacy, single, said he “doesn’t care if someone has a relationship” but admits there’s a small element of “missing out” as peers and others post each other on social media, even though “most high school relationships end pretty quickly anyways.” 

Most high school relationships end pretty quickly anyways.

— Landon Lacy

When the connection is strong enough, most conclude social media doesn’t end up mattering much. 

Seniors Lucy Schutle and Maxon Brown have been dating for five months, and see little problem with social media in their relationship. Brown notably only got social media recently and described his move towards the apps as majorly influenced by Schulte. 

“I see so much relationship content,” Schulte said. She expressed that it allows her and Brown to better bond through relatable relationship content and funny videos. 

Social media hasn’t added much pressure at all to her relationship because Brown “doesn’t use it”, but she does believe it’s strengthened it. “It’s fun to take pictures and post them.” 

Ultimately, she concluded that social media can add pressure, but seems to strengthen what’s already there, whether that’s love, insecurity, or something else. 

“If anything, I think it’s helped us,” Schulte said. 


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About the Contributor
Kalani Gaviola
Kalani Gaviola, Editor-in-Chief
Kalani Gaviola, senior, is one of the Editor-in-Chiefs of Crimson Newsmagazine, as well as co-InDepth Director. This is her second year as Editor-in-Chief and InDepth Director, and her third year in Crimson. Outside of Crimson, she is a varsity Cross Country and Track athlete, ASB Staff and Student Director, and an enjoyer of creative writing, reading, and drawing.
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