Teens and Online Dating – Advice for Parents

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What online dating looks like for teens

The digital world is shaping the way young people develop their relationships on and offline. If used correctly, it can be a great tool to establish and maintain healthy relationships. For young people, when it comes to dating online it isn’t just about dating apps. It’s about how relationships develop on social media and through private messaging.

So, it’s important to equip them with the tools they need to make safe choices about who they talk to, what they share and who they trust to reduce exposure to potential online risks.

To help make sense of this increasing part of young people’s lives and how you as a parent can support your child, you’ll find advice about how online relationships can impact teens development, their offline interactions and how they form online romantic relationships.

Why talking about healthy relationships on and offline matters

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DR LINDA: Living more of our lives and having our identities online,
it’s inevitable that we’re going to be having not only more relationships online,

but also more meaningful or deeper relationships.

One of the areas where this is particularly interesting is when it comes to dating.

Gone are the days where it’s someone puling your pigtails.

Now it’s someone sliding into your messages, it might be a girl or a boy that you’ve seen at a party who all of a sudden connects with your child.

For parents this can feel really confusing and I think again, this is one of those teachable moments with young people.

Of course they’re going to want to connect, and they’re going to want to speak to somebody and form meaningful relationships but the question becomes:

What are you portraying online? How much of this is really you? And really importantly, how much of the other person is really them?

So having those discussions around who they’re connecting with, how they’re connecting with and also,

the discussion is about how long is the relationship going to stay online before it moves offline and vice versa.

Is it healthy just to speak online all the time or is there scope for meeting up whether to have a walk around the park or to go to a café.

Likewise, in terms of one’s digital footprint when it is about relationship online, what am I sending in terms of pictures?

Are these things that I feel comfortable with now, going to make me feel comfortable with in a week or a month,

or is it something I’m going to have to think about?

I think that’s something really important as well when it comes to thinking about not just communicating in the moment when you like somebody,

but what happens later on in terms of that digital footprint as well.

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