How does technology affect relationships?

With technology changing so rapidly, it’s almost possible to stay connected 24 hours a day. Have you used cell phones or Facebook to get to know someone better? How are the rules different online than in real life? Hear what other teens have to say about how technology affects relationships and share your thoughts.



Want to hear more? We asked the teens featured in this video to tell us more about whether they think technology affects relationships. Here's what they had to say.

How does technology affect relationships?
by Edith C.

It’s really hard to believe that 20 years ago people didn’t have to deal with Facebook and texting and other media that is now so important in our lives. But now, it’s impossible to think what we would do without them. This technology has changed many parts of our lives, but one part in particular is relationships.

It used to be that a guy and a girl would hang out, date, and (something really retro) write each other letters. Now you can have that whole relationship experience for the comfort of your computer; and even though it’s on your computer, it’s still on public display for the world to see.

It may be kind of difficult to grasp, but think about it: every time you update your relationship status on Facebook, post on your boyfriend’s wall, or comment on your girlfriend’s status, your three hundred plus friends are seeing that. With technology there is little to keep private. And Facebook isn’t the only problem: texting has made it so easy to send information and pictures. In recent years we have seen the problem of “sexting” arise. While sexting may seem like harmless fun between you and the person you love, it can have some serious consequences. Those pictures and texts that you send can haunt you for the rest of your life, and it is even a crime. So next time you think about pressing send, just rethink that text.

Technology has revolutionized the world, but there are still some places where technology just doesn’t belong, and for me, that is in relationships.
 

Edith is 17 years old and lives in San Diego, California. She enjoys acting and singing and loves discovering new music. On the weekend, you'll most likely find her rocking out at a concert. Her role model is her sister because she taught her everything she knows today.  Got a question for Edith? Email us!


How does technology affect relationships?
by Alejandro A.

Technology and social media have become a double-edged sword in the development of all of our relationships. It’s much easier to be friendly, outgoing, and flirty using Facebook and texting, just by using the proper emoticons and exclamation points. It has greatly facilitated the interaction between people by eliminating the physical interaction between them. People would never feel the real sting of rejection or embarrassment through a phone or computer screen.

But this is where technology and gadgets have the potential to undo us. By eliminating personal interaction, the social skills that we would normally develop by actually interacting have become increasingly rare.  I know many people who seem like the most charismatic people on an IM chat screen, end up freezing up the second they’re put in a social situation and their virtual charisma turns into real shyness.

I have seen this in my own interactions. When I was a freshman in high school I would talk to this one girl on IM a lot. We became really good friends and told each other everything. The problem was that we never hung out outside of a chat room. So when we finally made plans to go see a movie, there was a constant looming feeling of awkwardness between us.

So while it is true that social media and technology can allow us a greater reach in terms of contacting people, it also comes with the risk of lowering the quality of these relationships and making them less stable.
 

Alejandro is a freshman at NYU, studying Biology and Chemical Engineering. He loves musical theatre, playing ultimate Frisbee, and being romantic.His jokes are also really cheesy. Got a question for Alejandro? Email us!


How does technology affect relationships?
by Amanda P.

Technology can be extremely helpful in relationships, but it can also add complications.  I feel that technology is extremely useful in starting a relationship when a guy or a girl might be too nervous to talk to the person they are interested in. Texting is casual and low stress because you have time to think about what you’re going to say before you say it.  Even instant messaging can be fun with the flirty smiley faces you can send. 

Facebook and Twitter are also useful ways to see what the other person is interested in.  You can easily view their hobbies, favorite music, and even know what events they will attend, so you can go and get to know them better. 

When relationships become serious, technology can also be extremely useful to keep in touch with your boyfriend or girlfriend when they’re far away.  Right now, my boyfriend is living a state away from me, and we depend on texting, phone calls, and Skype to keep us together until the summer is over.

However, technology can also harm a relationship if one person doesn’t use it in the same way as the other.  For example, if one person loves to text and is always instant messaging people, while the other hardly texts or instant messages, there can be hurt feelings.  The person texting all the time might not have all of their messages replied to instantly, causing them to feel that their boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t care about them.  But in reality, the person not replying to the messages naturally doesn’t think of texting or instant messaging often.  They might not even know how upset the other person is getting from their slow responses.

Also, it’s easy to misunderstand text messages, instant messages, and emails because it’s hard to find out how upset someone is without looking into their eyes, hearing their tone of voice, and reading their body language.  It might be easier to talk about issues in the relationship through digital messages, but that just leaves more possibility for confusion, and a greater chance for the issue to not be resolved.

I think it’s best for technology to be used as a tool to communicate non-serious messages.  If there is an issue in a relationship, it is best to communicate face to face.  
 

Amanda is 19 years old and from Monterey, California. She loves to travel and learn different languages.  In her free time she does yoga, volunteers, and tries out new vegetarian food recipes. Her current favorite recipe is vegan brownie cupcakes! Got a question for Stacy? Email us!

 

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant Number: 90-FE-0024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.


WHAT OTHER TEENS ARE SAYING:

ON APRIL 30, 2014 AT 7:05 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I know that my relationship would not be possible without technology, I only see my boyfriend on weekends and during the school year. during the summer I only see him once a month or so. However, I feel that its important to know that I am using technology to interact with him, not to substitute him. therefore, when we are face to face I try not to be on my phone or computer because I have all the interaction I need already. I know that if we were on our phones and laptops constantly while we were together we would get jealous of each other's technology very quickly. I would want to know why he feels the need to text other people while he was with me and who he was texting that could be more important than spending time with me.

ON APRIL 22, 2014 AT 2:26 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

I know that my relationship would not be possible without technology, I only see my boyfriend on weekends and during the school year. during the summer I only see him once a month or so. However, I feel that its important to know that I am using technology to interact with him, not to substitute him. therefore, when we are face to face I try not to be on my phone or computer because I have all the interaction I need already. I know that if we were on our phones and laptops constantly while we were together we would get jealous of each other's technology very quickly. I would want to know why he feels the need to text other people while he was with me and who he was texting that could be more important than spending time with me.

ON APRIL 2, 2013 AT 12:23 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

tecnology is a new way we can meet new people, however it affects our way to communicate to each because things are said that are not suppose to be.

ON NOVEMBER 28, 2012 AT 5:01 PM, JENNAH SAID:

My boyfriend and I went long distance for almost 3 years and it sucked! But i had internet and technology to keep in touch...but people started drama and when we would see eachother in person every other weekend we would always think that something happened just kuz girls were jealoous i was with hi and they wouldnt. They would try to break us up over facebook and it worked a few times....it suuucckkkeedd

ON NOVEMBER 16, 2012 AT 3:24 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

^Well said, well said!! ^^^^^

ON OCTOBER 26, 2012 AT 12:00 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

While technology can help break any ice leftover from the initial face to face interaction, it can also be detrimental in the long run. Staying in contact all day everyday cannot be a good thing. Familiarity breeds contempt. As well, the more that is said, the more likely it is that something wrong will be said. This is why space is so important; while physical space is there, there is often no gap in communication.

If a relationship happens to get past all of that, there is still another matter. Staying in touch all the time causes the relationship to progress at a much more rapid pace when unregulated. It's principally the same as "live fast, die young". While it does save time wasted in a potentially bad relationship, it allows that relationship to become bad quicker.

ON AUGUST 27, 2012 AT 11:23 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

i feel that a small amount of technology is good because you feel more comfortable asking personal questions that is too embarressing to say, but too much tech isnt necisarily a good thing. and i would never want to meet my bf on the internet weather its facebook or formspring. if you never truely saw them in person, dont trust them, you never know who could be out there

ON MARCH 16, 2012 AT 1:36 PM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

Interesting i guess

ON OCTOBER 14, 2011 AT 10:36 AM, ANONYMOUS SAID:

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 4 months now, and are very close. We got to know each other on fb, and I believe this strengthened our relationship. But, there's just nothing like being face to face, and we tend to get ahead of ourselves on facebook when in reality we're a little shy around each other. Also, if messages don't send, or things get mis-interpreted, there can be rough patches.. I believe technology's great, but in any relationship the love should be what holds it together.

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