*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MediaPost.
In a world where almost everything is virtual, today even romantic relationships can be remote. According to a recent article in TheWall Street Journal, online relationships among teens are fast becoming the “new normal.” Where one or two generations ago, the norm was for teens to “go steady” with somebody at their school and enjoy activities together in person, today some teens are finding romantic partners 3,000 miles away, and never meeting them.
Through social media and video games like “Fortnite,” teens are increasingly meeting people around the world who share similar niche interests. Fewer teens are getting a driver’s license or their own car, leaving them more housebound. And they’re increasingly eschewing risky real-world behaviors, making online relationships safer in some ways.
The result is a number of teens who have a boyfriend or girlfriend whom they’ve never met and never get to see in person. Yet interactions with these boyfriends or girlfriends fill hours of each day, on FaceTime and Snap. The relationship can be just as monogamous, committed and deeply felt as one experienced in person — and arguably, sometimes even more so, if it’s with somebody who shares all their niche hobbies, interests and tastes.
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