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Teens and Dating

  1. Roughly 1.5 million high school boys and girls in the U.S. admit to being intentionally hit or physically harmed in the last year by someone they are romantically involved with.[1]

  2. Teens who suffer dating abuse are subject to long-term consequences like alcoholism, eating disorders, promiscuity, thoughts of suicide, and violent behavior.

  3. 33% of adolescents in America are victim to sexual, physical, verbal, or emotional dating abuse.

  4. In the U.S., 25% of high school girls have been abused physically or sexually. Teen girls who are abused this way are 6 times more likely to become pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Teen dating violence (TDV), also called, “dating violence”, is an adverse childhood experience that affects millions of young people in the United States.  Dating violence can take place in person, online, or through technology. It is a type of intimate partner violence that can include the following types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.

  • Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act and or sexual touching when the partner does not or cannot consent. It also includes non-physical sexual behaviors like posting or sharing sexual pictures of a partner without their consent or sexting someone without their consent.

  • Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm a partner mentally or emotionally and/or exert control over a partner.

  • Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.

Teen dating violence has profound impact on lifelong health, opportunity, and well-being. Unhealthy relationships can start early and last a lifetime. The good news is violence is preventable and we can all help young people grow up violence-free.

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.

Teens and Sexting

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 can lead to harassment, bullying, and can sometimes even 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 teens 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.

Teens should understand that messages, pictures, or videos sent via the Internet or smartphones are never truly private or anonymous. In seconds they can be out there for all the world to see.

Even if the image, video, or text was only meant for one person, after it's sent or posted, it's out of your teen's control. Lots of people might see it and it could be impossible to erase from the Internet, even if your teen thinks it's gone.

If a compromising image goes public or is sent to others, your teen could be at risk of humiliation, embarrassment, and public ridicule. Even worse, it could damage your teen's self-image and even lead to depression and other mental health issues.

 

And there can be legal consequences. In some states, a teen could face felony charges for texting explicit photos or even have to register as a sex offender.

 

Risky behavior online can haunt a college applicant or job-seeker years later. Many colleges and employers check online profiles looking for signs of a candidate's maturity — or giant red flags about bad judgment.

Sexting Risks: How To Explain Them To Teenagers

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 teens 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.

Your child needs to know that sexting or sending nudes has risks, like the risk of images being shared without consent. For example, you might say, ‘Once you send a photo to someone, you lose control of it. It could be shared with other people and put on social media. You may not even be aware that it's being shared.'

 

You could also encourage your child to think about what might happen if they break up with someone who has sexual images of them. For example, that person might share the sexual images to get revenge.

 

You could also explain that once images are on the internet they can be very difficult to remove. It’s also important to help your child understand the legal consequences of sexting.

 

If your child has questions about sexting, try to answer them as honestly and openly as you can. If you have concerns about the risks of sexting, explain your concerns to them.

Teens and Online Dating

Over 6 in 10 teens said that they have met at least one new friend online.

If you are using online sites to find friends, be especially cautious. Many dating sites have everything from fake profiles to hackers on them. Even many social media sites have fake profiles and phishing1 accounts. Some teens (and even some adults) alter their pictures or even use pictures of someone else while posting online, mainly to seem more likable to people scrolling through their profile. Teenagers are more susceptible with believing people online which makes them a good target for abusers and hackers. When someone becomes more desperate for attention, they often don't think about their actions online.

According to the New York Post, around 34 percent of teenagers agreed that they spend a lot of time making their images look perfect before posting them on social media sites. Often times, the profiles you see on dating sites aren't as they appear in real life. They may use different filters to make themselves feel more attractive and they may change their bio around to make them seem more likable or interesting.