New school vs old school dating; technology latest interloper in teen dating rituals

Amara Del Prato, Entertainment Editor

Young love, the wonderfully dramatic pastime that high school life has revolved around for generations. However, the days of heartbroken teens stand- ing outside of their ex’s house with a boombox blasting love songs are long gone. Now, young people have a whole new world to interact in with their peers, and it fits in the palm of their hand.

Social media plays a huge part in most teenage relationships, with more than 80% of teens using some form of social media, according to nonprofit organization Common Sense Media. However, some teachers ponder the consequences of this form of communication.

“[Phones are] kind of the problem; it’s so easy to talk and chat or for things to get misconstrued, and I just think so many people get dumped by text or by phone versus in person,” math teacher Eric Vallecillo said. “[When] you’re talking [on the phone] but you’re still doing other things, you’re distracted, and a lot of miscommuni- cation results because of that.”

Many students know these social media risks, but they maintain that teenagers have no other choice but to communicate digitally.

“Nowadays if you don’t get to see your partner as often, the phone is really the only way to communicate,” junior Lisa Lew said. “When you have to tell them something but you’re not together what do you do? You go on your phone and you’re like ‘Hey.’”

Even when phones are not a necessity, adults notice that couples still seem to gravitate towards their devices.

“When my wife and I go out for date night, it’s just really interesting to see [younger] couples that are just sitting there on their phones not talking to each other,” Vallecillo said.

With the introduction of social media into the teenage dating world, big public promposals have risen in popularity. There are entire Insta- gram accounts dedicated to showcasing these huge romantic gestures — a trend that did not exist a few decades prior.

“If you’re over 30 and want to feel real ancient, talk to a teenager about how they ask each other to prom these days,”

writer Lisa Bonos said in an article titled “Are High School ‘Promposals’ Cute or Too Much?” in the “Washington Post” on April 30, 2018. “Teensrarely just ask someone to prom anymore. They ‘prompose.’”

Prom itself can cost hundreds of dollars, but a study by Visa found that the average teenager can spend over $300 on the promposal alone. Although some students feel compelled to perform a dramatic gesture to please their significant other, social media is also a significant motivator. The “promposal” hashtag on Instagram has over 149,000 posts, most with likes in the thousands.

“I think it’s attention-seeking,” math teacher David Goodwin said.  “Promposals — it’s all for attention. If it’s from the heart, then it’s more one-on-one. It’s those quiet moments.”

Despite the massive cultural changes in expectations and traditions for high school relationships and dating, students still believe the experience is vital to growing up.

“Dating in high school is a great way to gain experience in the early days so that later you’ll know what to do if you’re ever in that situation,” junior Julian Balubar said. “It exposes you to different situations such as heartbreak or depression, but it also exposes you to love and kindness.”

“I think the heart is still the heart; the emotion hasn’t changed,” Goodwin said. “You still get the little tingly feeling when somebody likes you.