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Should Your Teen Be Involved in Online Dating?

TSpost8-37The desire to find romance can be very strong and it’s only natural that our highly connected teens turn to social media and dating sites to help them find a date. Today we are going to look into online dating in society and the role it plays in how our teens look for companionship. Our teens are experts at navigating and forging digital friendships, after all, and online dating is an easy segue for our digital natives.

Online Dating’s Prevalence And The Impact On Teens

Online dating has become widely accepted and considered a legitimate way to meet someone. Typically, online dating is more popular for older age groups, peaking among the mid-20 and mid-40 crowd. We find about 39 percent of middle age people are actively seeking romantic relationships from behind a screen and keyboard. Online datings sites are typically created with intention to encourage hookups, both casual and long term, for adults—not teens.

However, research has found a growing trend in younger people registering for online dating sites. It is estimated that 10 percent of 18 to 24 year olds are seeking dates online. One of the most popular dating apps, Tinder, is geared toward adults, but admits that 7 percent of it’s users are between the ages of 13 and 17

Should Our Teens Be Involved With Dating Sites?

TSpost8-38So much of our teens’ social life happens online that, while older generations may balk at the idea of online dating, teens don’t bat an eyelash when trying out a dating app to meet people. Many are looking for actual dates, while some teenagers are merely testing boundaries, or attempting to feel mature by seeking out someone online that is outside their normal peer group.

Whether we like it or not, parents need to realize that our children ARE reaching out digitally, and with online dating becoming a norm for adults, it’s something teens are comfortable with exploring, too. Expecting our teens to avoid it completely isn’t necessarily realistic, especially once they get older.

To that end, parents need to take a proactive stance about talking to our teens about online dating, but also treat it as a new norm: set rules for online dating just like you would when it comes to regular dating.

Parents need to determine when a child is ready or allowed to date by taking into consideration their maturity and responsibility. Some teens are ready to date earlier than others, while some aren’t remotely interested in this topic. We normally strive to make it a point to oversee and restrict their dating in the real world and we should also monitor their online activity in the digital world to enforce our rules.

This is important because our tech savvy teens can easily fudge ages to bypass the age restrictions at registration. This can find teens posing as adults and adults posing as teens which creates a scary set of problems if the couple would ever meet in real life. Another facet of teens using online dating sites is how teens place an extreme amount of emphasis on looks and fail to neglect inner beauty.

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