“Some Things Just Won't Go Back”

Teen Girls’ Online Dating Relationships during COVID-19

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 Faculty of Environmental Studies and Urban Change, York University, Canada acgold@yorku.ca
  • | 2 Community Based Participatory Research, York University, Canada flicker@yorku.ca

Abstract

We conducted three online focus groups [n = 25] with teen girls in Canada in May and June 2020 to explore their dating and relationship experiences during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the strict public health measures limiting physical contact, participants reported connecting primarily online with possible dating partners and others. While facilitating platforms, like Snapchat, were already part of these teen girls’ dating and relationships repertoire, many participants reflected on the limitations and drawbacks of being able to connect only virtually. Results suggest the need to better attend to the impacts that COVID-19 restrictions are having on teen girls’ dating relationships, as well as to the larger impacts that the deterioration of these relationships might be having on their mental and emotional health.

Introduction

To curb the spread of COVID 19, unprecedented public health measures were enacted across North America to limit people from congregating physically. While impacts were felt broadly, adolescents appear to have been particularly hard hit. Early indicators suggest that school closures and isolation affected young people's mental health (Lee 2020); girls and queer youth were disproportionately affected. According to Jessica Fish et al. (2020) many LGBTQ and other minoritized youth found themselves isolated in unsupportive home environments or cut off from valuable community supports (Endale et al. 2020), while concomitant rises in domestic and gender-based violence became recognized as “a pandemic within a pandemic” (Evans et al. 2020). Furthermore, access to sexual and reproductive health services were curtailed (Mmeje et al. 2020).

Little is known about how COVID-19 public health measures are affecting young people's dating relationships. We are interested in what it means for young people, and especially teen girls, who are already subject to patriarchal social and sexual pressures, to experience their first relationships under heightened surveillance amid the restrictions of a lockdown necessitated by a global pandemic. We conducted three focus groups with primarily female-identifying Canadian teens aged between 16 and 19 to explore their dating and relationship experiences during COVID-19. Results indicate that teen girls were more reliant than ever on new media to initiate and maintain dating relationships and were therefore increasingly subjected to the sometimes problematic dynamics of these spaces. In this article, we situate the relationship between teen girls, dating, and new media, share focus group findings, and conclude with considerations regarding possibilities for better supporting teen girls’ relationships under the ongoing spectre of COVID-19.

Teen Girls, Dating, and Social Media

Teen girls’ experiences with dating and romantic relationships during COVID-19 must be understood in relation to previously existing intersections between and among age, gender, sexuality, and new media. Prior to the COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions, teen girls were already prolific users of the Internet and of social media. A 2018 US study of 743 teens (393 of whom were girls), found that 50 percent of teen girls reported spending most of their time online. Teen girls were more likely to cite Snapchat as the social media platform they use most often and were also more likely than boys to use social media to share their personal feelings, post selfies, and comment on the posts of other users (Anderson and Jiang 2018). These findings confirm those of Charlene Baker and Patricia Carreño's (2016) focus group study which found that, even prior to COVID-19, teen girls were deeply engaged in practices of both relationship and image maintenance in online spaces.

In terms of initiating dating through social media, a US study by Amanda Lenhart et al. (2015) found that while only 8 percent of teens had dated someone they initially met online, over 50 percent engaged in online flirting behaviors. Furthermore, 10 percent reported sending flirty or sexy pictures to show romantic interest. A recent study by Rosemary Ricciardelli and Michael Adorjan (2019) of Canadian teens’ sexting practices suggests that this number is likely much higher. Teen girls are also more likely to send what are known as sexts (sexy pictures) to a prospective or current partner than teen boys (Klettke et al. 2014), and to receive unwanted or unsolicited sexts, often in the form of so-called dick pics (Ricciardelli and Adorjan 2019).

Concerns about young people's unequal sexting practices have contributed to moral panics and the perception that teen girls are at unique risk of online sexual exploitation and harassment (Cassell and Cramer 2008). For instance, 35 percent of teen girls aged 13 to 17 have reported experiencing online flirting behavior that made them feel uncomfortable and have blocked or unfriended someone to protect themselves (Lenhart et al. 2015). Valerie Steeves (2014) similarly found in her study of Canadian teens that “girls are both more likely than boys to agree with the statement that they could be hurt by online strangers” and are “less likely to see the Internet as a safe place” (1).

However, even as teen girls are subject to problematic gendered dynamics in online spaces, they do not necessarily see themselves as harmed through these experiences. As Sarah Handyside and Jessica Ringrose (2017) note in their study of teens’ use of Snapchat, while teen girls do experience a double standard compared with boys in relation to their self-sexualization online, they are able to push back at this double standard by reading humor and pleasure into their experiences. Ricciardelli and Adorjan (2019) similarly found that teen girls often respond to receiving dick pics by laughing about them with friends. These findings highlight girls’ agency in their online dating and flirting practices, as well as their ability to resist expectations that they interpret their experiences of online sexualization only through frameworks of shame, regret, and victimization.

Teen girls’ experiences of social media use within existing romantic relationships must also be understood in relation to gendered norms that structure intimate relationships more broadly. For instance, teen girls are more likely than teen boys to use text messaging to maintain contact with their partner (Anderson and Jiang 2018). Teen girls are also more likely to engage in all forms of online monitoring or possessive behavior, while teen boys are more likely to engage in online threatening, pressuring, or stalking behavior (Hinduja and Patchin (2020). Joni Meenagh (2015) suggests that these behaviours may point to the ways in which gendered norms in relation to male sexual agency and narratives of male infidelity pervade online aspects of heterosexual relationships. Yet despite the potential misuses and abuses of social media in teens’ relationships, in a recent study, 70 percent of teens said they felt closer to their significant other because of online exchanges (Anderson and Jiang 2018).

In summary, teen girls are generally active, savvy, and experienced users of technology for initiating and maintaining dating relationships. While they face uniquely gendered challenges to dating online, many have long relied on the use of social media to supplement in-person dating experiences. However, COVID-19 public health containment measures have disproportionately altered young people's relational lives, as teens are more likely than older people to be living at home, subject to parental or guardian scrutiny, and to have restricted mobility. We explore what it means for teen girls to be forced into a position of having to start and maintain dating and romantic relationships entirely online, particularly considering the gendered dynamics they encounter in these spaces.

Study Details

Participants for this study were recruited from across Canada through ads posted on Facebook and Instagram seeking participants for a study on “Dating during COVID-19.” For two of the focus groups we recruited explicitly for female-identified participants and for the third we recruited for all genders. Prior to taking part in the focus groups, participants were asked to complete an anonymous demographic survey. Of the participants, 24 identified as female and/or queer/non-binary, and one as male while 80 percent identified as heterosexual, 10 percent as bisexual, 7 percent as lesbian and the remaining participants identified as asexual or pansexual. While 70 percent of participants identified their race/ethnicity as white, the remaining 30 percent identified as East Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, and/or Indigenous. The average age of participants was 16.7. Focus groups lasted 90 minutes and were facilitated by the first author (a white, cisgendered woman in her 30s).

Focus groups, using Zoom teleconferencing software, took place remotely during the first week of June 2020. At this point, all Canadian provinces and territories had been subjected to several months of emergency measures including school closures that severely restricted in-person gathering. For Canada's most populous regions, these limitations were still in effect at the time of the study. Therefore, although no geographic information was collected from participants, it can be assumed that most of them had been living under strict COVID-19 isolation measures for several months.

The Zoom auto-transcription and recording features were used to capture discussions. Rather than looking at keywords only, we analyzed narratives using thematic narrative analysis methods (see Riessman 2008). This means that the division of participant narratives into individual themes is less precise, and many of the narratives examined below touch on or refer to several ideas at once. However, for the sake of clarity, we present participant narratives in relation to two key themes: participants’ experiences of starting romantic relationships; and participants’ experiences of maintaining romantic relationships. Although participants represented a range of diverse ethnicities, racial identifications, and sexualities, participant narratives across focus groups were largely consistent. Moreover, for a variety of personal reasons, some related to confidentiality, most participants kept their cameras off and used pseudonyms, so it was sometimes challenging to match demographics with participants’ voices. Demographic descriptors are therefore included only where identified by participants themselves.

Results

Starting a Relationship during COVID-19

We asked participants across all focus groups to reflect on how their experiences of flirting or starting a new relationship had changed because of COVID-19. Many suggested that prior to the pandemic, they and their friends might meet new partners in any number of ways. According to Joy's experience, “most people in our age group would meet people at school, so the people you hang out with in class, the people you sit next to, the people you meet in clubs.” Maggie said, “In my friend group we all met our significant others in person.” Christa suggested that a benefit of meeting someone in-person is that “you have … an emotional connection.”

However, many participants also agreed that prior to COVID-19, it was common to meet and flirt with others online. This might involve either initiating a conversation through social media or starting a relationship with someone met online (for example when a stranger likes your post). For instance, Nola said that in “high school … before COVID and now even, it's mostly by social media that people get together … It's mostly Snapchat that people use.” More broadly, Sophie explained, “In my own circle of friends, many of them started relationships online … I met my boyfriend online, too. And … that was pre-COVID.”

Explaining how relationship progression dynamics have changed, Farah said that before COVID “you would meet online, but you would actually meet like in person as well. But now it's more online … And it's really hard and different.” Sarah added that because of COVID-19 restrictions on meeting in person, relationships easily stalled:

You know how … there's like a talking stage before a whole relationship? Normally what happens is … they talk online, but then they don't really make things official until like [they] meet up in person… Now, I guess because of COVID and stuff, people can't meet up with each other. So it's causing, like, less relationships.

A net effect of the inability to meet crushes or potential partners in person is that, as many participants explained, online flirting had become a game that was played for fun or to relieve boredom. Expectations that any long-term or serious commitment would result from these flirtations was low. For instance, Sophie said,

I know some of my friends who are single right now … they kind of are looking for people to pass time with … just like, ‘Hey, I'm bored I'm lonely’ like, ‘You know, you're single, I'm single, let's talk.’ … So, I think that not non-serious relationships are pretty common, especially right now.

Mia, too, suggested that, during COVID-19, “there's more communicating, but then also there's a lack of commitment … you can … just delete their contact.” Sierra explained that although game-playing online was “always happening,” she found that

it happens a lot more during COVID I guess. And I know that people are like making relationships that you know that they don't actually believe are going to follow through after COVID. They're kind of just using their time to do whatever.

Interestingly, Anna, who identified as lesbian and as being in a committed relationship, suggested that “game-playing” online is more of a straight phenomenon. She explained,

I don't know how much of it is like kind of sexuality, because I know stereotypically my friend group is like a lot of lesbians … And they're like, interested in relationships. So they'll be getting into online things but then they're still looking for that kind of like emotional investment, long-term thing.

Anna's narrative points to how differently situated girls experience online dating and flirting. While the gendered dynamics of heterosexuality construct men and women as being in opposition to one another, lesbian and queer girls may be operating under a different set of guiding principles rooted in expectations of emotional honesty. Although Anna was the only participant who directly shared her dating experiences from a non-heterosexual perspective, these discrepancies are an area ripe for future exploration.

Regardless of participants’ expectations about the seriousness of their online relationships, there was a sense across all focus groups that the recent period of physical distancing and school closures reflected a kind of time-out from real life. Joy summed this feeling up:

I feel like some people kind of perceive this period of time as, like, you can do whatever you want. And then after that, like, it ends. Like, like this is an isolated time and then after the pandemic is over, like whatever you did before, like it has no effect on you and then you can go back to your normal life …

Of course, the notion that the time spent during isolation is not real and that it has no consequences reflects a fantasy that is not necessarily supported by the girls’ own narratives. For instance, Sophie said,

One of my girlfriends really likes this guy, but then you know they're not in a relationship so she says ‘It's fine if you talk to other girls,’ but then she'll get upset or, you know, like emotionally involved. So that's a big issue right now, and especially with COVID … I feel a lot of people just want to have non-serious relationships.

Even as online game-playing is further normalized during periods of enforced isolation, the feelings involved are indeed very real. Furthermore, as Sophie's story about her friend indicates, while teen girls may be eager participants in these online dating practices, game-playing online can reproduce gendered relations of male agency-female submissiveness that structure heterosexual teen dating relationships more broadly (Meenagh 2015). For instance, Bridget spoke of an experience of being ghosted—having a contact end communication without explanation—by a stranger.

So, this guy added me on Snapchat. It was all cool, I was chatting with him. And then we ended up forming a very intricate bond … And then he said something like ‘I'm getting my phone taken away.’ That was, like, really shady … like I haven't talked to him in two months, he hasn't opened any of my Snapchats, he just, like, cut out.

Bridget's narrative demonstrates how engaging with others entirely through mediated platforms can produce persistent uncertainty. Indeed, one of the most common drawbacks of meeting people online that was frequently mentioned by participants was the inability, particularly in the absence of the possibility of in-person meet-ups, to ever trust the other person fully. Karen explained that on popular platforms “people can use filters; they can basically post whatever the heck they want.” This means that, as Sarah succinctly put it, “You don't know who's behind the screen.” In relation to dating, Farah suggested that “when you have a crush on somebody in real life, you get to see that person and you know you feel attracted to them … But online, like, people don't really show who they actually are.” In more personal terms, Sophie explained that, when online, “it's easy for me to become someone I want you to see.” Penny explained in a more pessimistic tone, that you cannot trust anyone on the Internet, because “these people could be trying to steal your identity.”

The above narratives indicate that even as teen girls have been involved in practices of meeting, flirting, and starting relationships using various online platforms during COVID-19, they are also cognizant and wary of the limitations of these platforms for developing relationships that might go beyond what they described as “talking” or “playing.” Furthermore, they remain critical of the dishonesty that is normalized online, particularly in heterosexual flirtations. These drawbacks of connecting with others exclusively through technology during COVID-19 are often heightened for those already in relationships, as we go on to discuss.

Being in a Relationship during COVID-19

While starting a relationship during COVID-19 was described as both a fun and potentially fraught adventure for teen girls, the maintenance of current dating relationships during the pandemic was generally described as difficult, stressful, and confusing. For some participants, like Melanie, relationships that were in their early stages prior to COVID-19 quickly fizzled out. She said, “I'd been like, talking to this person before quarantine and then like, now that like, you're self-isolating, like I'm not seeing them anymore … like at school, I mean, like I'm not seeing them, so it's just, I don't know. Odd.”

Of those participants in longer-term relationships, many described feeling isolated from their partners. Penny offered,

Right now I'm not able to see my boyfriend … You can't go see that person, unless you're going to hurt yourself or risk hurting yourself if you want to see that person… And it's sort of sad and not really that fun.

Other participants indicated that they specifically missed the physicality of in-person contact with a partner. For instance, Karen explained, “There are days where you have a bad day, but you can't see them … like they can't be there to give you a hug or be there to like sit down and talk to you.”

Sophie, too, lamented that “not having that physical touch with my boyfriend … can be really painful. It's like five months and like we're not able to see each other or anything.” Christa said, “I am in a relationship, currently, but I can't see my boyfriend … We don't know when we'll be able to, you know, hang out properly and when things are going to be normal … It's very stressful.”

In the absence of an ability to see each other in person, participants indicated that they were reliant on communication technology to connect with their partners, but that this reliance brought new challenges. For instance, Hope explained that “my boyfriend doesn't really have a device, so it's really hard to contact him.” For Mia, the issue was often one of timing. She explained that “if the other person is not on their phone, then it's kind of difficult to communicate.” Furthermore, Sophie noted that if you encounter “a bad connection or like, your Wi-fi is out, then you're not able to connect with that person.” These kinds of challenges around accessibility and connectivity may be felt in particular by young people from lower socioeconomic households and/or those who live in rural areas.

Another stressor wrought by COVID-19 restrictions that was mentioned by several participants was the lack of external stimuli, and the effect this had on their relationships. Stella said that before COVID-19, “I really enjoyed going out to eat once a week with my boyfriend … but now … we aren't able to kind of like, go on those types of dates … it's kind of boring.” Christa explained that “because there's nothing to talk about with each other, you're just getting into a pattern and a cycle of just talking about the same thing over and over again.” Penny agreed that “even if you were in a really passionate relationship with someone, if there's nothing going on, there's nothing to talk about.”

It should be noted that a few participants found novel ways of connecting with their partners using technology. For instance, Anna said, “I read my girlfriend to sleep every night … We don't really get to talk during the day because we're doing stuff. So, we just like FaceTime until super late every night.” Hope claimed that she and her boyfriend call each other every day on Discord (a social media site centered around gaming) and “play games instead of going out.” Penny explained that she and her boyfriend have found apps which let them “watch shows together. So, we've come into new habits to try to improve our relationship.” Penny also described how she and her boyfriend had taken a more drastic step to reconnect by staying in his family's camping trailer for five days. However, she explained that afterwards “he had to stay in there alone for two weeks.” We suggest that isolating oneself for two weeks in order to see a romantic partner is a huge burden for a young person to bear.

Considering the difficulties young people are encountering in maintaining their relationships in the absence of the possibility of in-person contact, it is unsurprising that several participants revealed that they or their friends had ended relationships during the early stages of the pandemic. For instance, June said that she had recently broken up with her significant other and that she had many friends who had had a similar experience. She attributed the breakups in part to the atmosphere of stress and uncertainty that teens are facing during this pandemic. She explained,

I think because I'm still like in high school, um, a lot of us haven't really had much experience with dating yet, so it's kind of hard to maintain something when all of a sudden, like, we're facing this big global uncertainty.

Across focus groups, teen girls expressed experiencing stress and frustration about how to maintain their ongoing dating relationships during COVID-19, citing in particular the difficulty in staying connected to their partner from a distance. However, this is not to say that all girls’ experiences were entirely negative since some participants described discovering novel ways in which to engage with their partners during this time. Furthermore, teen girls’ narratives of breaking up with their partners during COVID-19 may also indicate that some participants learned something important about their desires, expectations, and boundaries that may serve them well in future relationships.

Discussion

Findings indicate that teen girls are grappling with a new reality when it comes to starting and maintaining dating relationships during COVID-19. While teen girls were already deeply engaged in navigating their social worlds online prior to the pandemic, it appears that they are more reliant than ever on using social media to fulfil their needs for social connection, romance, and leisure. Indeed, participants’ narratives about what it means to flirt and connect in online spaces requires further attention, particularly during COVID-19—a time during which young people are already feeling the impacts of social isolation and the disruption of everyday life. Teen girls, particularly heterosexual teen girls, do seem to be experiencing harm in relation to common online flirting and dating practices. This harm, however, does not necessarily reflect the kind of harm often imagined to be befalling teen girls online (like, for instance, sexual exploitation) as Justine Cassell and Meg Cramer (2008) note. Rather, at least for the girls in this study, notions of harm in online spaces are structured by gendered dynamics that often situate men and women in opposition to each other. Here, harm looks like someone playing with your emotions and pretending to like you when they do not. Harm looks like someone communicating with many people at once and treating dating as a game without informing the other person of the supposed rules. Harm looks like someone suddenly disappearing without explanation.

While certainly such game-playing can and does happen during in-person adolescent relationships, the relative anonymity of the Internet seems to bolster these kinds of casual and dismissive attitudes to dating. Furthermore, even as participants recognized that game-playing was the norm on the social media platforms they used, several still found themselves getting emotionally invested in their online relationships in ways that led to their being hurt. Young people may be feeling particularly in need of connection with others at a time when they are cut off from their normal lives, routines, peers, and in-person spaces. Indeed, many participants described themselves as “lonely” and in this context, it is not hard to imagine that these teen girls who are, in many ways, very savvy about the risks of the Internet (at least as adults imagine them), are also highly vulnerable in their loneliness.

It is worth considering what long-term impacts there might be for teen girls who, because of circumstances beyond their control, are experiencing their initial dating and romantic relationships in spaces in which they cannot (or should not) trust those they encounter. Wyndol Furman and Laura Schaffer (2003) argue that adolescent romantic relationships act as key sites for adolescent identity formation, and for the development of adolescents’ sense of self-esteem and competence. Teen girls whose initial romantic experiences are characterized by uncertainty, deceit, and cruelty are therefore perhaps more likely to have their sense of self-esteem damaged. Also, to the extent that identity formation during adolescence involves the construction of one's gendered sense of self (Furman and Shaffer 2003), online dating relationships that reproduce teen girls as dupes may reinforce gendered relations that empower boys and men as agentic in their heterosexual dating relationships in ways in which girls are not. However, it should be noted that not all teen girls expressed experiencing dating solely through a sense of mistrust and game-playing, as seen in Anna's narratives of dating as a lesbian. While her experiences cannot be drawn upon as evidence of a fundamental difference between lesbian and straight relationships, perhaps there is the potential for straight teens, educators, and parents to look to, and learn from, non-heterosexual teens’ relationships in developing alternative models for what a healthy relationship might entail.

Participants’ narratives in this study also indicate that the pandemic has had detrimental effects on the quality of teen girls’ pre-existing romantic relationships. For some participants, school closures, isolation measures, and a newfound reliance on mediated communication has had a detrimental effect on the quality of their romantic relationships. Even though participants in this study indicated that they regularly communicated with their current romantic partners through a variety of online and social media platforms prior to COVID-19, this form of communication was generally viewed as supplemental to in-person meetings. Not one participant said that she preferred engaging with her romantic partner online rather than in person, and several participants described their isolation from their partners as “stressful” or as “painful” and/or “sad.” And so, while some participants at times discussed enforced isolation as though it were a state of stasis, there is no denying that for many participants, connection, love, intimacy, and friendship were ultimately lost. As one participant, Hope, poignantly summed it up, when it comes to teens’ relationships during COVID-19, “some things just won't go back.”

Limitations, Conclusions, and Research Possibilities

The small scale of this study means that results are not widely generalizable to all teen girls. For instance, while class was not measured in the demographic survey, the technology required to take part in the focus groups may have biased the sample. What dating during COVID-19 might look like for teen girls from households without reliable access to online communication, or who are underhoused, is unknown. As well, we do not provide a concerted race analysis. The Zoom platform we used to conduct the focus groups enabled participants to use pseudonyms and to take part by audio-only. It was therefore, as mentioned earlier, sometimes difficult to match demographic characteristics with pseudonyms adopted over Zoom (especially when cameras were off). Future research that explicitly provides an intersectional analysis of teen girls’ dating experiences during COVID-19 would be immensely valuable.

A further potential limitation to this study is that participants may have been influenced by a social desirability bias in their responses (Hollander 2004). For instance, participants were asked if they had ever broken quarantine to see their partners and no participant said that she had done so, and many were critical of people they knew who did. This suggests that participants who took part in this study were either more likely to be rule followers, or positioned themselves as such because such a position would have had heightened salience at the time of the study given the uncertainty and panic of the first wave of COVID-19. Despite these limitations, there are still important lessons to be learned for educators, policymakers, and other caring adults. First, attending to the importance of young people's dating and romantic relationships and validating the very real pain they may be experiencing as they face the deterioration of those relationships because of COVID-19 is necessary for opening up lines of communication and promoting mental health. Several participants felt that, in fact, parents and other adults often dismissed their relationships as unimportant. As Penny explained, “Some adults don't think it's as important for us, like for relationships and such … Even though we're young, and things might not matter in the long run, it still matters to us in general.” Adults’ dismissive attitudes about teenage romantic relationships are likely to deter young people from seeking support when it is needed.

Second, this study provides a more nuanced reading of what is thought of as online safety. While this issue is emerging as a common theme in school-based sex education, the kinds of risks and dangers emphasized in these curricula often focus on practices such as sexting (Albury et al. 2016). However, for teen girls in this study, the toxicity they faced online had less to do with sexual exploitation and more to do with broader concerns around authenticity, truthfulness, reciprocity, and accountability, as intersected by gender and sexuality. These are complex topics that point to the need for better integration of media literacy, ethics, and sex education that addresses gendered norms. Classrooms are ideally situated for helping teens unpack how young people's online dating behaviors may reproduce patriarchal, misogynist, and sexist dynamics (as well as racist and heterosexist ones, although no examples of these were provided by participants in this study). For young people today, particularly as they navigate a post-COVID-19 world, media, sex, gender, and love are intricately interlinked.

Finally, participant narratives in this study indicate that teen girls, and all adolescents, need to be physically present with each other. At the time of writing, many high schools and universities across Canada and North America have moved to hybrid-learning and/or remote learning models. While public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 are necessary, we must continue to prioritize young people's personal relationships and resist assumptions that teens’ seeming dependence on technology means that they will not be harmed if required to live, learn, and love entirely from behind a screen.

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  • Ricciardelli, Rosemary, and Michael Adorjan. 2019. “‘If a Girl's Photo Gets Sent Around, that's a Way Bigger Deal than if a Guy's Photo Gets Sent Around’: Gender, Sexting, and the Teenage years.” Journal of Gender Studies 28 (5): 563577. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2018.1560245

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  • Riessman, Catherine Kohler. 2008. Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Steeves, Valerie. 2014. Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Life Online. Ottawa: MediaSmarts.

Contributor Notes

Alanna Goldstein (ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7116-9581) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Faculty of Environmental Studies and Urban Change at York University. Her work examines intersections between and among youth, sexuality, gender, media, and pedagogy with a focus on how young people draw on the media in the formation of their sexual and gendered subjectivities. Email: acgold@yorku.ca

Sarah Flicker (ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6202-5519) is a Full Professor and York Research Chair in Community Based Participatory Research at York University. For the last 20 years, she has been engaging youth and other allied actors in environmental, sexual, and reproductive health justice work. Email: flicker@yorku.ca

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

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  • Baker, Charlene K., and Patricia. K. Carreño. 2016. “Understanding the Role of Technology in Adolescent Dating and Dating Violence.” Journal of Child and Family Studies 25 (1): 308320. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0196-5

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  • Cassell, Justine, and Meg Cramer. 2008. “High Tech or High Risk: Moral Panics about Girls Online.” In Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning, ed. Tara McPherson, 5376. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

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  • Endale, Tarik, Nicole St. Jean, and Dina Birman. 2020. “COVID-19 and Refugee and Immigrant Youth: A Community-based Mental Health Perspective.” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 12 (S1): S225S227. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000875

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  • Evans, Megan, L., Margo Lindauer, and Maureen E. Farrell. 2020. “A Pandemic within a Pandemic–Intimate Partner Violence During Covid-19.” The New England Journal of Medicine, 16 September. https://doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2024046.

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  • Fish, Jessica N., Lauren B. McInroy, Megan S. Paceley, Natash D. Williams, Sara Henderson, Deborah S. Levine, and Rachel N. Edsall. 2020. ‘“I'm Kinda Stuck at Home with Unsupportive Parents Right Now’: LGBTQ Youths’ Experiences With COVID-19 and the Importance of Online Support.” Journal of Adolescent Health 67 (3): 450452. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.06.002

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  • Handyside, Sarah, and Jessica Ringrose. 2017. “Snapchat Memory and Youth Digital Sexual Cultures: Mediated Temporality, Duration and Affect.” Journal of Gender Studies 26 (3): 347360. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2017.1280384

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  • Hinduja, Sameer, and Justin Patchin. 2020. “Digital Dating Abuse Among a National Sample of U.S. Youth.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Published online. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260519897344.

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  • Hollander, Jocelyn A. 2004. “The Social Contexts of Focus Groups.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 33 (5): 602637. https://doi.org/10.1177/0891241604266988

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  • Klettke, Bianca, David J. Hallford, and David J. Mellor. 2014. “Sexting Prevalence and Correlates: A Systematic Literature Review.” Clinical Psychology Review 34 (1): 4453. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2013.10.007

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  • Lee, Joyce. April 14, 2020. “Mental Health Effects of School Closures During COVID-19.” The Lancet. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-4642(20)30109-7.

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  • Lenhart, Amanda, Aaron Smith, and Monica Anderson. 2015. Teens, Technology, and Romantic Relationships. Washington D.C.: Pew Research Center.

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  • Meenagh, Joni. 2015. “Flirting, Dating, and Breaking Up within New Media Environments.” Sex Education 15 (5): 458471. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681811.2015.1033516

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  • Mmeje, Okeoma. O., Jenell. S. Coleman, and Tammy Chang. 2020. “Unintended Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Youth.” Journal of Adolescent Health 67 (3): 326327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2020.06.019

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  • Ricciardelli, Rosemary, and Michael Adorjan. 2019. “‘If a Girl's Photo Gets Sent Around, that's a Way Bigger Deal than if a Guy's Photo Gets Sent Around’: Gender, Sexting, and the Teenage years.” Journal of Gender Studies 28 (5): 563577. https://doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2018.1560245

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Riessman, Catherine Kohler. 2008. Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

  • Steeves, Valerie. 2014. Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III: Life Online. Ottawa: MediaSmarts.

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