Online dating is become a popular way for everyone to meet new people. Adults and teens are taking advantage of it, but it has led to a big question for parents. Is online dating right for your teens? What about the issue of teen safety when it comes to this online opportunity.
You can make it safer. It’s all about knowing what online dating involves and being open with your teenagers. Here’s some help to make the decision whether this is right for your teens.
What Exactly Does Online Dating Involve?
To start with, online dating is dating through the internet. It involves various online portals and websites, where people signup and chat to others. They share their interests and get to meet people personally before really getting to know what they look like in person. This can offer many benefits, but is also the reason why many parents worry about the safety of their children.
Once someone gets to know an individual online, there is then the step to meet in person. This is a major component of online dating, and where the main risks come to life.
Do You Know Who Your Teen Is Really Talking To?
Remember, there is the issue of someone being able to hide behind a computer. There are horror stories of pedophiles pretending to be teenage girls and boys as a way to trap individuals. The youngsters only find out when they meet with their online girlfriend or boyfriend, and then it can be too late.
It’s important that your teens know of this danger. Being open with you about people they meet online and who they are; or who they could be. This is a great step to teen safety because it shows that you are open to your child meeting new people. You just want the best for them, and to make sure they are safe.
Encourage Meeting Somewhere Public
When it comes to that initial meeting, it’s worth getting your teen to meet with his or her date in a public place. This could even be somewhere you can be off on the sideline, so you can at least make sure your teen is safe to begin with. You can then agree to leave once you’ve seen who the person is.
Meeting someone public will be something that pedophiles are instantly turned off at. They want somewhere quiet, and that should set off alarm bells for you and your child. Most dates will want to go to the movie theaters or a restaurant as their first date; even coffee during the day is a consideration.
Using Sites Suitable for Teenagers
Many of the online dating sites are designed for adults. The good news is there is a market for teenage online dating sites. These are full of people your son’s or daughter’s own age. The sites aren’t just for dating, either. They’re for teenagers to make friends with others; something they may not be able to do at school or at home.
Work with your child to find websites suitable for teenage online dating. This will help to ease some of your worries. Of course, it does not avoid all the issues of dangerous individuals, but will at least increase the chances of your child finding someone genuine.
Whether you like it or not, your teen will turn to the online world to socialize. Online dating is a possibility. Letting your son or daughter know all about the dangers of online dating and the real-life happenings is the best thing. You want to be open with your teenager, as that will lead to knowing who your teen is seeing, when and where.
Take your time to set some ground rules, such as being there initially for that first date—just away so your teen’s date doesn’t know but they are in sight. This will really help ease your mind, while focusing on teen safety when it comes to the online world.