Some teens in our focus groups mentioned that their communication choices often evolve with the intensity and duration of their relationships.

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Human mating is the process whereby an individual seeks out another individual with the intention of forming a long-term intimate relationship or marriage, but sometimes for casual relationship or friendship.

From heart emojis on Instagram to saying goodbye to a relationship with a text message, digital technology plays an important role in how teens seek out, maintain and end relationships. And we talked for about a week, and then I decided he actually seems kind of chill. And then I took it slow, like cause meeting someone over the internet isn’t always the best idea.

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But for all the advantages digital communication can offer, a number of teens in these focus groups said they are more at ease when talking to the object of their affection face to face. On talking to a crush via text message It’s like good and bad things because, like, all those texts, you really can’t communicate the way you communicate in person. They might think that you’re saying something in some type of way.

A little bit more bold over text, because you wouldn't say certain things in person. You just wouldn't say certain things in, like, talking face to face with them because that might be kind of awkward. Text messaging and talking on the phone are the top two ways that teens spend time with their romantic partners – but when it comes to daily interactions, texting is by far the dominant way teens in romantic relationships communicate: 72% do so every day, compared with 39% of teens in romantic relationships who talk on the phone daily.

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. I was dating this girl that I met through a social website that probably hardly anybody knows about. Everything from one’s choice of emoji to the spelling of the word “hey” can carry a deeper meaning.

Text messaging also is a common way for teens to flirt and express romantic interest.

Among teens with dating experience, 76% say they have never dated someone they first met online, but one-in-four (24%) have dated or hooked up with someone they initially encountered online. Many teens in our focus groups described flirting with a crush by liking their photos or posting a comment on their social media profile.

It was relatively rare for teens in our focus groups to talk about meeting romantic partners online. These interactions have their own unwritten – but widely understood – rules.

As mobile devices have made it easy to check in from a wide range of locations throughout the day, many teens now want to communicate with their romantic partner on a daily – and in some cases, hourly – basis. Or somebody’s like ‘I miss you.’ [And then she asks] ‘Who is this girl?