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It was late fall during my freshman year at college.My friends and I were piled on my dorm bed, staring at the phone and willing it to ring.At least that’s what teens said in a recent story about online romance in the student newspaper at my daughters’ suburban Maryland high school.According to that story, “students initiate relationships online to meet new people, avoid stressful in-person meetings and hide their dating lives from their parents.” That’s certainly the case for some kids, according to my 17-year-old.This report examines American teens’ digital romantic practices. The main findings from this research include: Overall, 35% of American teens ages 13 to 17 have ever dated, hooked up with or been otherwise romantically involved with another person, and 18% are currently in a romantic relationship.It covers the results of a national Pew Research Center survey of teens ages 13 to 17; throughout the report, the word “teens” refers to those in that age bracket, unless otherwise specified. Though 57% of teens have begun friendships in a digital space, teens are far less likely to have embarked on a romantic relationship that started online.But, really, what can we expect from a dating app that focuses on appearance?

“Parents need to help their teens understand that all is not necessarily as it seems; they need to be extremely careful with what they share online.” Cover image courtesy of Flickr.Today’s teens are flirting in an entirely different landscape.Sure, they are still flirting in hallways and movie theaters but they are also flirting over text message, social media, and apps specifically designed for flirting and dating.A majority of teens with dating experience (76%) say they have only dated people they met via offline methods.One-quarter (24%) of teen “daters” or roughly 8% of all teens have dated or hooked up with someone they first met online.

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