Flirting over social media has become a trend among many teens.
This new form of flattery fueled by emojis, likes, and comments, is now a means of increasing teen self-esteem. Posting selfies and staged photos has now become a "norm".
Wired.com recently reported that young adults receiving less than their desired amount of "likes" on an Instagram photo may delete it or delete the photo and save it for another time. Teens also reported watching to see if the person they have a "crush" on liked their most recent post. Comments tend to rank higher than likes; however, a heart eye emoji or "kissy face" emoji are the most sought after. Another aspect of Instagram to be aware of is the availability of DM or direct messaging. This Instagram feature is similar to texting. Between Snapchat and Instagram, teens do very little texting.
This new method of flirting and affirmation is one to monitor. It's important that our culture recognizes the importance of face-to-face communication and affirmation. Let's be individuals known for affirming one another face-to-face. While relationships don't necessarily have to begin in person, it is important to express that need for interpersonal communication.
Likewise, it is important to educate teens on social media safety. Ensuring that profiles are not open to the public and "blocking" inappropriate users is key.