Dating In the Digital Age

Recently, Dr. Melissa Estavillo had the opportunity to comment on the shifts in dating experiences in the digital age. With teens spending over 8 hours a day on some form of media, it’s no wonder technology has made its way into our relationships as well. View her interview below.


So parents may be asking, “Should I be worried about my teens online dating behavior?” Let’s start with a few facts:

  • 24% of teens in a relationship state that they meet, dated or hooked up with someone that they met online
  • 55% of all teens ages 13 to 17 have flirted or talked to someone in person to let them know that they are interested
  • 50% of teens have let someone know they were interested in them romantically by friending them on Facebook or another social media site
  • 47% have expressed their attraction by liking, commenting or otherwise interacting with that person on social media
  • 45% have shared something funny or interesting with their romantic interest online
  • 31% sent them flirtatious messages
  • 11% have made them a music playlist
  • 10% have sent flirty or sexy pictures or videos of themselves
  • 7% have made a video for them


And while some of these behaviors would be considered harmless, others can be quite destructive.

Having a more neutral means of communication can be very positive for individuals who would initially struggle with more direct communication. Social media and digital communication is more likely to give them a chance to flirt, connect, and initiate a relationship. However, the research has shown that the very mechanisms that decreases anxiety during the initiation of the relationship, can also lead to disconnection that makes the relationship feel more unstable and uncertain. Thus, many teens feel more jealousy and anxiety round their relationships. Lastly, while only 10% of teens report sending flirty or sexy pictures of themselves to others, 80% of those pictures and videos are later shared with others after a break up.

Across the board, society has experienced great benefits from technology and many of those benefits can be seen in our relationships as well. But parents must also be aware of the problems that technology presents, and help their teens make healthy decision when it comes to dating and communicating online.