Opinion: The role the world of social media plays in teen relationships


What we see on social media can heavily influence our sense of security in relationships. Graphic by: Soraya Stegall

Can social media jeopardize healthy relationships and cause issues of trust and dishonesty?

Tiktok, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, the list goes on, social media apps like these have embedded themselves into our daily lives and have replaced face-to-face communication with a fluorescent screen for many. Communication is easier than ever and media can be shared and seen at the speed of light. Social media is one of life’s leisures, but it can also be a breeding ground for issues of trust and honesty, and questioning the legitimacy of one’s relationship as a whole between romantic partners. 

It can be easy to let what we see online scare us into overthinking. Cliché as it is, what is portrayed on social media is oftentimes altered and far from reality. Just because you see a TikTok of a girl whose boyfriend writes her love notes every morning, and yours doesn’t, does not mean yours is cheating on you. 

 Isaac Lopez ‘23, who has been in a committed relationship with his partner for over a year said, “Everyone is different and everyone’s relationship is different. If you know your [partner] I don’t think [social media] should affect your relationship.”

Despite the whole purpose of social media being about the public, it can encourage a lot of secrecy. With the press of a button, you can find anything you want. That’s the easy part, and apps such as Instagram allow users to see who likes posts, this is where problems in relationships can brew. 

Oftentimes we come across some pretty risque things on social media while scrolling through our feed, and the posts someone like can tell you a lot about them, Instagram models are an example. It’s already hard enough for teenagers to feel good about themselves in a world full of ever-changing beauty standards.

Bryn Woleslagle ‘23 said, “Going on Instagram as a girl in high school [I] see other girls and [I compare] myself, sometimes I just have to delete [Instagram] and say no.”

 When we find our significant others liking suggestive pictures of women or men with unrealistic physical features, it can create a sense of insecurity within the relationship.

Even things that may seem like no big deal, such as liking or commenting on someones post, can cause issues of mistrust in relationships. Graphic by: Soraya Stegall and Julian Martinez

This liking of posts may start a lack of respect or trust in a relationship. We believe that if you respect your partner for who they are and what they have to offer, then there shouldn’t be a need to constantly be seeking out other women or men online for the mere purpose of them being attractive, especially if you have no connection to them whatsoever, but may disagree. 

Abby Block ‘23 said, “I’m not even the jealous type but [liking suggestive posts is] weird, that’s just wrong. Guys always like some random Instagram models’ bikini pictures, you don’t have to like it. You don’t have to let the whole world know that you saw that sh*t and you liked it.” 

The use of social media within one’s relationship can greatly affect the sanity and structure of a relationship. This can be seen when couples strictly use Instagram direct messages or Snapchat messages to communicate with one another. 

People nowadays rely too heavily on the use of emojis or GIFs to communicate their feelings and thoughts, and that takes away from the relationship as a whole. This is why communication outside of social media, in real life, is important. Couples utilizing social media as their only form of communication are bound to fail, seeing as the physical connections made outside of it are crucial.

 So, where does one draw the line? What is okay and not okay behavior online when in a relationship, out of respect for your partner? It’s important to talk to one another about boundaries and what you are comfortable with in regard to social media. Communication is key, though it can be awkward and hard to do, in the long run, it will save you from unnecessary worry and stress. It’s normal to have feelings of suspicion, and it isn’t wrong to feel a certain way about how your significant other is using social media. If something is bothering you, let them know! How they respond to your concerns will tell you a lot about their character and how they prioritize your feelings and relationship.