Teen couples double tap into the digital age

Art+by+assistant+graphics+editor+Karen+Lee.

Art by assistant graphics editor Karen Lee.

Charis Lee

Just as standards, cultures and mainstream trends have changed through the generations, so has dating. 

Medieval acts of “courtship” have translated to modern-day “dating,” but are they the same? 

Nowadays, teens of Generation Z—anyone born after 1997—have access to social media and technology, allowing them to confess through texts, phone calls and or online dating websites— something our previous generations did not have. 

However, some things remain the same. Teens might meet their significant other in person, perhaps in the same class, school or tutor.

Ranging from freshman to seniors, Sunny Hills students share pieces of their love lives and how they met. 

Freshman couple Victoria Barinaga and Kayden Akers met through mutual friends at school on the first day of freshman year. 

Barinaga and Akers started to get to know each other through texting. 

“In the past, people didn’t have phones to contact each other,” Akers said. “Since we do, it’s easier to stay in touch.”

They both admit how attractive each other’s bright personalities were, every conversation filled with lots of laughter and smiles.

Barinaga and Akers have been dating for about five months and believe that chivalry in this generation is fading away. 

“Chivalry isn’t as important [now] because there’s more equality now than there was back then,” Akers said. “However, it should be important since it’s polite and a respectful thing to do.” 

They both believe that dating in this generation has become more casual and that most, depending on the type of parent, parents overall are more easygoing with dating.

“I think parents are more lenient [with dating] and there aren’t as many rules or stereotypes to follow,” Barinaga said. 

On the other hand, sophomores Aute Blackwell and Christopher Pinawin disagree.

“I think it’s fading and not necessarily dead, but it’s still important,” Blackwell said. “Social media may have an impact since you rarely hear influencers talking about [chivalry].” 

The two met in their biology class in seventh grade and started dating in August of eighth grade.

“Dating used to be so modest—it used to be called ‘courting,’” Blackwell said. “I don’t think it’s as conservative as back then, and we just meet up when we want to.” 

After dating for two and a half years, technology does not affect them as much since they are always together. 

“I confessed through direct message [DM] on Instagram,” Pinawin said. “Social media did help at first, but now we don’t really need it since we’re able to hang out a lot in person.” 

Since social media heavily influences our generation, each couples’ pre-dating and post-dating lives are directly impacted by online communication. Applications such as iMessage, FaceTime and Instagram serve as mediums to the technologically-filled love lives.

Juniors Leoni Nguyen and Krystofer Bagunu also got to know each other through Instagram though they met in person through the 2018 Homecoming football game as sophomores. 

“My first impression of her was how easy to talk to and super smart she is,” Bagunu said. 

They first started talking on Instagram where their friends made a group chat then suddenly all left, leaving the soon-to-be couple alone. 

“Thanks to technology, we’re able to talk all the time through FaceTime and text,” Nguyen said. “We are always able to help each other with homework, and I also have someone to rant to when I need it.” 

Nguyen believes there is more pressure on teen couples, and parent leniency with dating depends on the type of parent.

“There is definitely more pressure to focus on school rather than dating,” Nguyen said. 

Nguyen and Bagunu believe that communication is the most important part of a relationship to express how available they are for one another.

“I’m always able to rely on him to make me feel [encouraged] after bad games, practices, tests or any drama,” Nguyen said. “We also share the happy moments too and he’s always by my side through my best and worst moments.” 

Lastly, senior couple Emily Ibara and Angelo Sagum have been together the longest so far, dating since October of freshman year. 

“We met in AVID and it was basically love at first sight,” Sagum said. “She had a glowing personality and was so positive when talking to other people around her.” 

They coincidentally sat right next to each other and started talking together in class.

He got my Instagram and slid into my DMs.” Ibara said. “I was surprised when he did because before then, I never had one of my crushes actually show interest in me back.”

Ibara and Sagum were at a flirtatious, talking stage until they started dating after going to their first homecoming dance together.

To this day, technology has helped them to get to know one another and communicate, but it can also have its downfalls.

“Misunderstandings can happen since you can’t hear their tone of voice,” Sagum said. “It’s great but can also cause problems.”

Ibara describes her experience with technology as a “trade-off—” with every good thing comes a sacrifice. 

It is a great medium for communication, but the message can always be taken the wrong way. 

“It’s easier to communicate because of our phones,” Ibara said. “I don’t know if we would’ve had the guts to talk to each other if it wasn’t for Instagram.” 

For the boys who plan to date, students should be prepared for commitment toward their partners and treating their girls right, Sagum said.

“Sometimes social media can make it harder to trust your significant other,” Ibara said. “It has a way of making [people] feel insecure about themselves since on social media, you could be talking to multiple people at once.”

Although online messaging brings both the good and the bad, real-life considerate actions like chivalry aren’t outdated just yet; the couple believes that chivalry is far from dead.

Segum always makes sure to open car doors or restaurant doors for Ibara and even checks that the car temperature is OK for her as well. 

“I appreciate the little things like that because it’s super cute, and it shows how much he cares,” Ibara said. 

Despite each love story, which is to each their own, the large change between Generation Z and past generations seems to be the influence of technology. 

Interestingly, all couples find chivalry important but also recognize how it is starting to fade through each generation. This could possibly be because of brewing ideas of equality between men and women. 

Change is inevitable and so are dating expectations and fads. One thing, however, doesn’t change.

The recipe for a good relationship is communication. It’s a bit ironic since most teens ‘communicate’ through a screen but through each generation of sweethearts, honesty and authenticity are important. 

Though the couples sprinkled their own story and magic into their relationships , one constant was the shared value of talking face-to-face. 

Whether people call it “courting” or “dating,” all couples agreed that the style has changed as the generation shifts to a more technologically spurred world.