Teen Dating

Online Teen Dating

An increasingly large amount of teenagers date online, meaning that they hold a dating relationship with someone that they've never met in person, sometimes due to not being from the same city or state.

 

1. Do not give out your address, birth date or location to anyone whom you met over the internet. That person may not be who they are portraying to be. You should never give out personal details about yourself to someone whom you've never met in real life.

 

2. Do not EVER meet up with online boyfriends/girlfriends alone. If you choose to meet someone online in person, be sure to take a friend or an older brother/sister with you and meet in a very public place, like a shopping mall or a crowded restaurant.

3. Do not send any money to anyone who

you have met online. There are a ton of scam artists out there who know how to take advantage of teenagers.  Always keep your bank account information to yourself.

4. Don't accept a friend request from someone who you have no connection to at all. A lot of predators target teens on Facebook using fake accounts or spam accounts. We understand that you want to gain a lot of followers on social media so that your friends will see that you're 'popular', but the risk is not worth the gain here.

5. If you meet someone online and choose to date them, that does not mean that it's okay to engage in explicit sex-talk or to send nude pictures online. There are some online users who may try to speak in adult explicit language involving sexual profanity to try to lure teens in. Do not send explicit pictures either, even if you know the other person well. Remember that what is texted can be shared and spread everywhere.

6. Never let a boy or girl take advantage of you in any way. Online dating can be safe, but don't give in to the other person and do whatever they want of you. That's where safety can become an issue for you, because they will now think that they can easily manipulate you into doing whatever they want you to do.

7. Don't do anything you feel uncomfortable with. If you're feeling off about doing something, then there's probably a reason why. Don't engage in sexual activity because you feel pressured to. Don't let someone take control of you, your actions, and your decisions. And most importantly, do not EVER put a dating relationship before the well-being of yourself and of your mental health. You always need to put your health first, because if you let someone else control you, you'll start to lose yourself.

8. If you are dating someone in person or online, recognize your self worth. You don't need a boyfriend or girlfriend to make you happy. Learn how to make yourself happy before expecting others to do so. Self love is really important in a dating relationship.

Sending Sexually Explicit Pictures

What is sexting?

Sexting is sending, receiving, or forwarding sexual photos or sexually suggestive messages through text message, social media, or email. Modern day technology advances have made sexual exchanges much easier for teens to engage in. It's estimated that over 20% of teens engage in sexting. Often times, teens send the sexually suggestive pictures to their boyfriend or girlfriend, but fail to see the dangerous possible outcomes of that. What happens if you guys break up and the other person is upset and angry? Could they send your pictures out to other people? Statistics show that out of the teens who reported receiving a sext, well over 25 percent said that they had forwarded it to someone else.

The peak age of sexting is estimated to be around 16 and 17 years of age.

Girls were asked to send a sexual or nude image of themselves (68%) more often than boys.

 

Sexting and bullying go hand in hand a lot of the time. A lot of times, teens will bully the teen whose photos have been solicited to others. This creates a harsh world for a teen to live. Often times, they don't reach out for help because of embarrassment and disappointment, fear of making it worse, or fear of getting into trouble with their parents or by law enforcement. Many teens that end up in this situation feel like they are trapped and can't move on past it. This can sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts or self harming. Learn More.

Parents are always encouraged to talk to their teen about sexting. Ask them what they know about it and if they know the potential dangers of engaging in sending sexually explicit pictures. Express how you feel in a conversational, non-confrontational way.  A two-way dialog can go a long way toward helping your kids understand the possible consequences of sexting. If you believe that your teen has already engaged in sexting, sit down and talk with them in a non-confrontational way. Getting mad and angry at them will only make them shut down to you.

Tips for parents

Have a curfew

They may not like it all of the time, but it's for their safety. Teenagers should never be allowed out of the house at night if you don't know where they will be.

Meet your child's boyfriend/girlfriend

It may be awkward to them at first, but it's very important for parents to meet the teen who will be spending time with your child. Invite them over for dinner or go out to the mall for the day!

Emergency planning

Have an emergency plan for when they're out, such as having them text you if a date is going bad.

Check in with them

Don't text your teen every 5 seconds, but do keep tabs on where they are and what they are planning on doing.

Talk to your child about peer pressure

Talk with your child about what peer pressure is and let them know that it's never okay for someone to control you into doing something, especially if they are uncomfortable with it.

Look Out For Red Flags

Keep your eye out for possible forms of abuse or sexual abuse. If you suspect abuse, sit down with your child and explain your concerns. Let them know that you are worried and that you're always there for them!