Adolescent Narratives about the Influence of Social Media on Dating Relationships


Educational programmes for teen dating violence (TDV) prevention have been, for the most part, developed considering offline forms of violence. However, almost all young people are digital natives and their relationships are heavily mediated by social networks and the virtualisation of interaction, giving rise to new online violence. The aim of this study is to find out the role that adolescents from different cultural backgrounds give to social networks in their relationships. For this purpose, 44 in-depth interviews were conducted with adolescents between 13 and 17 years of age from public secondary schools in southeastern Spain. The interviews were analysed using Atlas ti software. 22. The most relevant findings highlight a perception of relational interchangeability that generates uncertainty and distrust towards partners. To compensate for these emotions, young people recognise the intensification of virtual control strategies, such as asking for passwords, creating false profiles to make sure of their partner’s fidelity or breaking off relationships to protect themselves from harm. They also identify an increase in violent and sexist content on the networks, which is favouring a normalisation of violent behaviour. They also report reduced physical contact with partners, whom they see physically infrequently, which increases the pressure to conform to the perfected virtual identities they construct and from which they relate in a global dating market. Understanding romantic relationships today must play a central role in adapting and updating educational curricula.


Verónica C. Cala
Assistant Teacher, Research Methods in Education, University of Almería, Spain

Encarnacion Soriano Ayala
Professor, Education, Universidad de Almería, Almería, Spain


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Designing Social Transformations


Social networking, Adolescent dating; Teen dating violence

Digital Media

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