Oh, the joy of raising a child in the digital age!
Don’t you wish you could employ the same child raising tactics your parents used on you? Life was so much simpler back in the day.
In any case, we live in the 21st century now and so do our children. Once they hit puberty we have to start thinking about the fact that they will not only date but will also date online via various teenage dating sites where they’ll be able to meet strangers, which is where their honest intentions can meet danger.
Although teenage dating sites come loaded with age requirements, safety, and privacy policies, the reality of online dating for teens is such that caution should be your daughter’s upmost priority when using any digital media to meet boys.
Living in the digital age means our children are likely more versed in using technological tools than we are and even though we shouldn’t try to stop them from being part of their generation by forbidding the use of various devices, we absolutely need to teach them to be careful and responsible when online.
That being said, trying to forbid your daughter from using teenage dating sites is fruitless because that will only make her go behind your back and do it anyway, only you won’t be in the loop. The smart thing to do is to allow the use of online dating sites once you communicate all the potential risks to your child first, and make sure she understands them and is willing to comply by the rules.
Online dating poses a risk to minors once the online relationship is taken offline. Whether it’s just friendly chatting or your daughter romantically likes someone from an online dating website, meeting in person means your child could be exposed to a predator posing as a teenager online. Make sure she understands that once she goes online her location can be hacked and easily revealed to any number of dangerous persons lurking around in search of easy prey even if she hasn’t agreed to meeting anyone.
Obvious dangers aside, the culture of brief hookups that is popular in online dating could potentially be psychologically damaging to a teenager. Further, many studies have shown that chatting online can create a false sense of closeness and intimacy, which is also something you need to clearly communicate to your adolescent girl.
Also, however difficult it is to comprehend, sexting is just as popular among teenagers as it is among adults. Explain to your teen that this form of intimacy is compromising in more ways than imaginable and discourage any form of picture sharing.
If your daughter is active on teenage dating sites and you notice a change in her behaviour confront her immediately and demand informative answers. Encourage open communication if you want your daughter to respect you and herself, and to have a safe digital life.