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If your child is beginning to express an interest in a romantic relationship, there’s already a chance they’re engaged in online dating. It usually starts with messaging people they know and slowly graduates to dating apps to meet anyone. Teens’ online dating is quite common today, and there’s a need for parents to become acquainted with the prospect. It’s easy to be unnerved by the thought of your teen dating online. While teenage online dating can be thrilling and amusing, it also comes with many risks. This article explains the different benefits and risks associated with teenage dating online. We’ll also expand on the various ways you can protect their safety as they explore the online dating scene.
In this article
Part 2: What Does Teen Feel About Dating Online?
Teens seem to be very comfortable about using apps to meet love interests. Although meeting partners online slowly grew in popularity amongst adults, it wasn’t till recent years that teens began meeting their romantic partners online. Although up to 47% of teens have started a friendship online, only 8% have met a romantic partner online. Those who have met a love interest online mostly use social media sites to meet their new love interest. Teens are open to the idea of meeting someone outside of their immediate environment. Online platforms also seem to encourage teens to express their interest in people they’re attracted to. A study shows that 50% of teens have told someone on social media sites that they’re interested in them romantically by adding them as friends.
Part 3: What is Parents’ Attitude toward Dating Online?
Teens and parents have very different views about online friendship. This is mainly because they also have different ideas of what socializing is. Most parents are skeptical about the idea of teens online dating. They worry about when the online relationship leads to physical interaction. They find it risky and quite dangerous because it involves strangers. Parents have a responsibility towards protecting their children and usually jump towards thinking of all the horrible things that could happen. However, some parents are open to the idea of online dating because it doesn’t limit their children to their geographical area. Few parents view teenage dating online as a way to widen their kids’ prospects.
Part 4: Benefits of Dating Online
Dating online comes with many benefits for teens. In this section, we’ll be exploring some of the benefits of online dating for teens.
- Develop the Ability of Socialization
The internet offers solace to teenagers who are always shy regarding face-to-face conversations. Such teens usually find it easy to approach new people on dating sites and social media platforms. Most times, a teen with low self-esteem finds confidence and self-assurance when they’re behind a screen. It is also an excellent way for teens labeled negatively to find like-minded people on the internet. Most times, an online community or a special online friendship can help a teen deal with the uncertainties of adolescence. This is one of the reasons some parents allow their teens to engage in online dating. It takes away the pressure of physical meetings while helping teens express themselves the best way they can.
- Builds Relationship Skills
Teens online dating is just like every other phase of life. The dating world can be pretty scary but at the same time scary for teenagers. Teenagers need to put themselves out there by expressing their romantic interest and risking the chance of rejection. They also have to learn how to be a good dating partner and what it means to be one. With teens spending more of their time dating online, it makes the process much easier. Teenagers can test the water online as they get to know each other. Teenage dating online provides a chance to work on your life skills. While there are chances of making mistakes, they can comfortably learn from these experiences.
- It Builds Confidence
Teenage dating online can also help teenagers overcome the uncomfortable feeling attached to meeting a love interest. Most times, teens get to know each other better before choosing to meet. When teens who are labeled ‘different’ go online, they have a chance to meet others who will make them feel less alone. Online dating can help teens develop high self-esteem as they approach adolescence. In a way, it also works to help teenagers lose their fear of rejection. Most teens find it easier to simply create an online profile rather than walk up to a person and ask them out. Most people who feel insecure about dating tend to feel more comfortable sitting in front of their computers for dating.
Part 5: Risks of Dating Online
Although there are many benefits to dating online, it isn’t without risks and dangers. Below are some of the dangers teens face when they choose to venture into the online dating world.
- 5.1 Harassment
Harassment is one of the top dangers in the online dating world. The more teenagers explore romance online, the more they experience unwelcome advances, unsolicited sexual pictures, and general harassment on different dating apps and social media platforms. Pedophiles sometimes use these online platforms to stalk and harass teens on the platform. It is also crucial to note that various social media apps use location services. This helps the apps connect people closer to each other as possible matches. This feature could put teens in danger as stalkers, pedophiles, and more could use this information to track them down.
- 5.2 Depression
A top danger that comes with teens online dating is depression. Depression is common amongst teens today, and online dating is a huge contributing factor. Teens might look for validation online. This could also lead them to do or say unfortunate things to get acceptance from people they meet online. In addition, when these validations don’t come, they can easily develop anxiety and depression. Teens with low self-esteem might feel even lower when they don’t get a good match or meet insensitive people on these dating apps and social media platforms.
- 5.3 Privacy issue
Privacy is one of the top issues that come with teens online dating. There are many scammers and dangerous people out there. It could be hard to tell them apart on these platforms as they might approach teenagers with fake profiles and attitudes. Some people on dating sites trick teens into giving out their personal information and then stealing their identities. There are also scenarios where they lure teenagers into in-person meetings that are pretty risky. Predators easily take advantage of teens’ trusting nature; this poses a danger to their overall safety.
- 5.4 Limits Social Interactions
One of the negative aspects of online dating is the limitation of social interaction. A teen with a love interest in a different state might decide to forego social events entirely because they prefer to stay home and chat with their romantic partner online. Sometimes, this eventually has severe ramifications on a teens’ social life. Many teens are becoming so reliant on dating apps and social media platforms that they can’t imagine the other aspect of dating, which is meeting people offline. Teenagers are becoming oblivious to the concept of going out and meeting people without using an electronic device.
Part 6: Suggestions to Avoid Potential Risks
Now that you’re aware of the risks of online dating, below are some ways you can avoid these potential risks and protect your teens from the danger of online dating.
- Find Out Who They’re Talking To
It is easy for many people to hide behind a computer. With many horror stories of pedophiles pretending to be young to trap teenagers, it’s vital to learn more about your teen’s love interest. Ask them questions about who they met online; ensure you’re subtle in your approach. This could be an excellent step for your teen’s safety because it shows them you’re open to the idea of them meeting new people and staying safe as well.
- Encourage Public Meetings
There’s always that first meeting with teens online dating. Therefore, suggest that your teen meet their date in a public place. It could even be a location where you can also be on the sidelines to ensure your teen is safe. Meeting in public spaces sets off alarm bells with scammers and pedophiles. Therefore, public places like restaurants, movie theaters, parks, and more should be the top considerations.
- Use Sites More Suitable for Teenagers
Most dating sites available today are designed for adults. However, there are teenage dating online sites that your teen can explore. These sites offer the best chance of your teen meeting people within their age range. These sites can also provide more than romantic interests as it also provides a platform for teenagers to make new friends. Help your kid find appropriate sites for teenage online dating as it increases the chances of finding genuine prospects.
- Set Safety Rules
There’s a need to create guidelines about online dating with teenage dating online. As a parent, you have to keep your teen safe and also assist them in learning how to navigate healthy relationships. Setting safety rules for your teen is essential when they start online dating. Ensure that they are honest about their activities and abide by curfews and other rules you set. Also, ensure you stay updated about the apps they’re using to meet people online.
Part 7: Wondershare FamiSafe—Establish a Safer Online Environment for Teens
A tool that comes with many features parents can use to keep their children safe as they indulge in teens online dating is Wondershare Famisafe. It is a parental supervision app that helps you ensure your kid’s safety at all times. Famisafe understands that the internet is full of bullies and predators and, therefore, offers features that assist parents in protecting their kids from these numerous dangers. Many parents who use Famisafe profess about how it eases their minds regarding their teens’ safety. Follow the three steps outlined below to set up this parental control app.
- Install Wondershare Famisafe
The first step users have to take is installing the app on their mobile devices. It is compatible with Windows, Androids, iOS, Mac, and Kindle Fire OS. There are also different ways you can get this app on your device. While it is available on the App Store and Google Play Store, you can also get the app on their official website.
- Create an Account
It is essential to download this Famisafe app on your phone and your teen's. After download, launch the app to begin the account creation process. Launch the app on your device and choose ‘parent’ as your identity. This will cause the app to develop a pairing code for you.
Now, launch the app on your device phone and choose to ‘pair with code.’ Enter the pairing code from your device into your teen’s device, and you’re all set up.
- Use Wondershare FamiSafe Features
Now that the account is all set up, grant permissions on your teen’s device to use all the features that come with FamiSafe. Some of these features include:
- Activity Report: This allows you to monitor your child’s online activities. This way, you can check their browsing activity and how long they use different apps. With activity reports, you’ll gain insight into what your child looks for online.
- App Blocker: With Famisafe, you can also regulate how your teen uses different apps. This way, you can ensure unsuitable apps are not accessible by approving only appropriate apps.
- Web Filter: This feature also helps parents restrict teens’ access to dangerous sites. You will receive notifications on your electronic device every time they try to access these sites. You can even filter the sites by categories to make it easier to keep track.
- Browser History: You will also learn your child’s browsing history, including those carried out in incognito mode. Famisafe offers a SafeSearch feature that ensures only censored results show up when your teen uses search engines.
Part 8. Conclusion
It’s common these days for teens to turn to the internet when they need to socialize. Therefore, parents need to accept that teenage dating online is a possibility. The best thing you can do is let them know the dangers of online dating, as they also explore its benefits. The suggestions above will help to ensure your child is safe from potential risks as they navigate the online dating world. One thing that also makes teens online dating easier is using a parental supervision app like Wondershare FamiSafe. It helps stay on top of their children’s actions from anywhere they are and right on their devices.