How Facebook Changes Teen Dating

Seventeen Magazine recently conducted a study amongst their readers. The results, I think are very interesting to our parent readers. The study polled 10,000 guys and girls ages 16 to 21.

Here is how the romance process on Facebook goes:

1. Adding a new crush as a friend = 1 week after meeting (79% of teens)

2. Stalking their new crush’s profile = Once per day after adding them as a friend (60% of people, but 40% check in on their crush several times a day).

3. Deciding to date = 43% of girls would decide not to date someone based on their Facebook profile, compared to 33% of guys.

4. Deciding to announce their new gf/bf = 17% of guys don’t share their status, compared to 12% of girls. (50% of girls get a kick out of the status change — one-third of guys agree; 24% of guys find it unnecessary, compared to 17% of girls.)

5. Breaking up = 10% of people have been dumped over Facebook. (73% of people keep their exes as friends.)

I thought this study was a fascinating look into how Facebook has seriously effected the ‘flow’ of a typical teenage relationship. We have completely new methods of flirting (poking), researching (profile stalking) and bonding (updating statuses together). Additionally, there are new ways to get hurt…having your significant other not want to change their status for you, being broken up via Facebook and more. The positive side is that as we lose some of the in person social skills, we are replacing them with online ones.

This is part of our Science of Family series. If you would like to read more articles on the scientific research and studies behind relationships, families and teens, please visit our Science of Families page for tips and updated research.


Brenna Ehrlich. Boy Meets Girl: How Facebook Functions in Modern Romance (2010).

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One Response to “How Facebook Changes Teen Dating”

  1. Chelsea
    January 19, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    It has indeed affected it, and not in really positive way, if you ask me. Crushes can be stalkerish as it is (I can remember in high school my friend and I driving by our respective crushes houses in the hopes of seeing them, calling and hanging up just in hopes of hearing their voices). Facebook offers the chance to really try to “know” a person, although so much of FB is not that realistic. It’s a bit much. And breaking up with someone on FB? That’s just sad!

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