The technology boom has impacted the way we communicate—from e-mails to social networks to texting, communication looks different today than ever before. As caring adults, we can recognize how technology may play an important role in a young person’s life. They may communicate differently than adults, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
Supporting the development of healthy boundaries and relationships for young people is a key to preventing relationship abuse and harmful behaviors. We can have conversations and set examples for the young adults in our lives when we understand what healthy relationships look and feel like. Understanding how technology plays a role in healthy relationships can be beneficial when having important conversations with young people about positive communication.
Approximately 88% of young adults text their friends at least occasionally, while 55% text their friends every day. This can be a quick and easy way to connect and it can be fun to communicate with someone frequently in a new, exciting relationship. When the communication from one party to another becomes or is unwanted, this turns into a harmful interaction. Caring adults can encourage respectful communication via text message and remind young people of what healthy boundaries look like.
When it comes to romantic relationships, nearly half of young adults have used social media to convey their interest in someone. This includes liking or commenting on the person’s posts. As long as the communication remains respectful, this can be a great way to initiate a connection and express interest, especially for those who may feel less comfortable approaching someone in person. Additionally, for those who are in relationships, nearly half of teens agreed that social media has helped them feel closer to their partner.
For the 72% of young adults who play video games, this can be another way to communicate with a partner or a friend. While some games may be solitary play, many young gamers interact with each other while gaming, either in person (85%) or online (75%). Video games can be a great way to connect with a friend or a partner and strengthen bonds over a shared interest.
These are just a few of the mediums that teens use to connect and communicate with a partner. In addition to the communication over text, social media, and video games, young adults also use video chat, e-mails, and phone calls with their partner frequently, as well as seeing them in person.
With Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month in full swing, let’s ensure that we’re setting examples for positive relationships and support the different communication platforms that young people may use.