Teen internet dating connections
It’s true: great relationships have bloomed via mobile apps and dating sites (one in five that result in marriage).However, our focus on this blog is family safety so that’s the POV from which we write.The very nature of social media after all is that it encourages communication and connection, which may well lead to IRL (in real life) meet ups.Obviously the level of this communication and connection is probably not the quality ones most parents would prefer.”Brewer highlights that the key for parents is to maintain awareness around everything that their child is doing online and believes that whilst this isn’t necessarily a trend that is hugely popular at the present time, it could well be something that we see increase in the future as children get more sexualised and more emphasis is put on sex and sex acts as a ‘currency’ to prove a child’s worth and skill.
According to Jocelyn Brewer, a Psychologist who works mainly with adolescents, it’s not so much that parents should be worried, but more that they just need to be very aware.“It’s definitely the case that even for teens using social media sites who are not specifically looking to hook up, such advances and suggestions happen.
Spot the Apps: There are several dozen popular dating apps.
A majority simply let a user set up a profile then access and contribute to a live feed much like a chat board.
It’s all one and the same.”Whilst Mc Lean believes that these kinds of sites aren’t problematic at the moment, she does state that this doesn’t mean that they won’t be in the future.
“Let’s be honest, once you move away from anything like Facebook or Twitter, to sites where there is limited security settings, no processes in place to report stuff, and problems are not followed up, you are getting into dangerous territory.”“Parents need to know that this stuff is out there and talk to their child,” advises Mc Lean. It’s the 21st century and technology is here to stay, so don’t think it’s something that’s part of your child’s world that you don’t need to understand.” Mc Lean says that she has met many parents who have expressed regrets at what they have allowed their children to do online, because they didn’t understand the risks and, as a result of that, it’s come back to bite them.“You need to understand what you are trying to protect your kids from, and you need to have rules and consequences, concludes Mc Lean.