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'Direct' and 'instant': the role of digital technology and social media in young Filipinos' intimate relationships.

Habito CM, Morgan A, Vaughan C

  • Journal Culture, health & sexuality

  • Published 18 Feb 2021

  • Volume 24

  • ISSUE 5

  • Pagination 657-672

  • DOI 10.1080/13691058.2021.1877825


Young people today grow up in a social landscape in which digital technology and social media are ubiquitous in daily life and interpersonal relations, including intimate (romantic and sexual) relationships. This study sought to study Filipino young people's relationship motivations and contexts in the digital age. We found that digital technology and social media are transforming the way Filipino young people approach and behave in intimate relationships. Digital technology and social media are making it easier for young people to engage in social comparison with their peers and role models, expanding possibilities for social interaction, facilitating rapid relationship progression, and enabling digital togetherness and self-expression in a context where conservative religious and sociocultural norms and sexual double standards remain dominant. This social environment brings opportunities to engage in relationships in new ways but also exposure to risks that may lead to poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes. Our findings underscore the importance of comprehensive sexuality education in schools and at home, and highlight the need for critical dialogue about the social norms and stereotypes that perpetuate gender-based violence and inequality in online and offline spaces.