As parents, it can be difficult to keep up with all the different ways teens can date. Not only can teens meet other kids at school or through extracurricular activities, but they also can go on dating websites and apps. With the prevalence of and even reliance on technology, teens are especially savvy when it comes to using these means for new ways to connect with one another. It is easy for them to meet other teens online and develop a new perspective on dating.
Rosalind Wiseman is an internationally well-known author and expert on teens. She is featured on the site, Kids in the House, in a video called How Boys and Girls Use Sexting. Wiseman discusses the new trend to send nude images via text message. This is a way both boys and girls have learned to ‘flirt’ online. This is considered a new trend, especially among young teens, because before this generation, the use of camera phones and instant messaging was non-existent.
It is important for parents to explain to their daughters and sons that this form of communication is severely dangerous. Many of these technologies put users’ privacy and information at risk. Besides the danger associated with sending nude images, this form of communication simply is not love, nor is it how a real relationship works and this needs to be communicated to teens. Mothers and fathers have to be open with their teens, sharing that they are not oblivious to what is going on.
Staying up to date on new ways teens are connecting can be difficult for parents. Keep in mind that ways for teens to connect can vary from dating websites to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble.
Some teens might not be signed up for a dating site, but they could be getting misconceptions about relationships other ways. Many teens also have different perceptions of dating because of the mass amount of pornography available online. These individuals could be watching explicit porn online and thinking this is what a healthy relationship looks like.
Jean Kilbourne is an activist gaining a lot of traction in her field of study as she looks into changing how women are perceived in the media. In her video, Sex, Pornography, the Internet, and Your Child, she talks about the vast changes in our culture because porn is so accessible via the Internet. Unfortunately, young girls are now pressured to present themselves as pornstars and strippers. Parents need to be mindful of this and remind their teens that personal presentation is important. Nude photographs have become more prevalent and young girls have the misconception that this is how they should grab men’s attention.
If a teenager is using dating websites or consistently visiting porn websites, the parents need to make that child aware of what the consequences could be and also provide context for that child.
There are various other videos that describe this new cultural trend. It is something that parents must be informed about because teens need advice and guidance, not strict rules that inhibit their learning.