Because like more people ask questions and stuff like that.Digital communication plays a role in all aspects of teen romantic relationships, including when those relationships end.Some 35% of teens have some type of experience in a romantic relationship, a figure that includes current and former daters, as well as those in serious and less-serious relationships. Teens also spoke about social media as an information-gathering tool that helps them find out all sorts of information about a potential partner, like whether they are dating someone or not.

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

Some said that they used text messaging because they didn’t want to see their former partner hurt, while others wished to avoid facing anger or physical retaliation.

Others said that they had never broken up with someone this way themselves, but have some sympathy for people who take this approach. But if it's something like they're having just general relationship issues or they're not interested in each other anymore, it's way too impersonal to do it like on video or on your phone. I think it’s kind of lesser and slightly disrespectful to do it through text, but I understand why, because it does take a lot to, like, go up to someone and say that you’re breaking up with them and to see their reaction.

Others mentioned how text-based communication can help them overcome the shyness they sometimes experience in person or give them time to come up with the perfect response during conversation. You know, so that kind of made me mad, but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to act clingy or whatever. Teens also described other negative aspects of technology in romantic relationships, such as surveillance that leads to jealousy, as well as arguments between partners that play out publicly on social media for all to see.

I think texting kind of makes you feel closer because boys are more shy. But when we text, it seems like it’s so much easier for him to talk to me. About a quarter – 27% – of teens with dating experience have had a partner use social media to track their whereabouts, and 27% of teens with dating experience say social media makes them feel jealous or unsure of their relationship.

Cause as long as the two [people] know how they feel about each other.

I feel like if you have it on social media, it’s like more drama.

A lot of people, if one person cheats or something or does something really terrible, then they both ... When relationships end, teens must decide how to cope with continuing exposure to their former partner on social media and other platforms.